Have you ever tripped over a toy that your toddler put on the floor? It’s NO FUN! Your toddlers can put their toys away, you just need to know some of these simple ideas and tricks to get them to do it. Here are our 5 top tips for getting toddlers to put away their toys most of the time. Say goodbye to the days in which you are tripping over toddler toys and looking at a huge chaotic mess.
Our Top Tips for Getting Toddlers Involved in Tidying Up!
These are our 5 top tips that are easy to do that will help you and your toddlers get into a great tidy up routine. We started these just before our own kids turned one and have held them in good stead as they get older as the habit is formed early.
Tip 1: Get Rid of Some of the Toys
One of the top ways you can get toddlers to put away their toys is to have less. Once a mess is made, it’s hard to get a toddler to put toys away.
Mostly because their brains can’t think that complex yet, especially if you want the toys put in a certain place.
A big step to getting them to put away their toys is to have a lot less.
Toy Rotation works really well here. You don’t need to get rid of the toys just provide them with less! So much simpler and in our experience, you will find that they will play with them more as well.
Tip 2: 5 Minute Rule
Some toddlers aren’t good at knowing when to put away toys.
They will play all day.
Before you get a little riled up that your toddler isn’t helping, think about this.
A 5-minute warning works wonders.
You simply tell your toddler that they have 5 more minutes to play before it’s clean up time.
This is all about consistency, the more you do the 5-minute warning the more likely they are to be in the frame of mind to pack their toys away and stop playing without too much of a fuss!
Tip 3: Set a Timer
If your toddler loves to take their time with stuff, you may want to consider setting a timer.
A timer works wonders when you want something done quickly.
The great thing about this tip is you can use it throughout their childhood.
The timer function on Alexa is one of our favourites and even now our kids are much older we still set the timer regularly for a tidy up, chores and even for screen usage.
Tip 4: Have Separate Boxes
It may be easier for a toddler to put away their toys when they have a place to put them.
After you have gone through the toys and there are “less” of them (see tip 1), you can add boxes.
The boxes are to help separate the toys by type.
For example, you may have a box for dolls, a box for cars, and a box for miscellaneous. The options are endless.
We found that having photographs attached to the boxes helped our toddlers to know what went where. We also included words like Blocks, Cars, Lego as this is a great way for them to start recognising that objects have words associated with them.
Tip 5: Show the Toddler How to Clean Up Toys
In order for a toddler to understand how to clean up, they need a good role model.
Show your toddler how to clean up and they will get the idea.
You can also help them the first few times and eventually, they will start cleaning up.
We saw this in action over and over again when our toddlers started nursery and preschooler.
They had a tidy up song! Whilst they tidied it would be played in the background and the little ones would join in as well as they tidied. It kept them on task and willing to tidy away without a fuss every day.
Do you have any top tips that you would like to add? Anything that has worked especially well with your own toddlers?
Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.