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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Encourage Your Kids to be Tidy

Last week on my Instagram, I shared in my instastories of how we always clean up twice a day - before nap-time and before bedtime - and I received a lot of interest and feedback of how we manage to have Sophia help with clean up. I have also gotten compliments from our church nursery workers of how helpful Sophia is at straightening up so I decided to share some tips on how to encourage your kids to be tidy.

1. Be an example - Our kids watch us and they do what we do so if we want our kids to be tidy, we have to be tidy. Our house is no where near perfectly clean and spotless 24/7, it's nearly impossible when you have a Labrador Retriever who sheds all year long and a toddler who likes to play with everything but it is tidy for the most part.

2. Make it a habit - The younger you start making it a habit to be tidy, the easier it will be for your kids to catch on and adapt this quality as part of their personality. We have always kept Sophia's bedroom spotless and cleaned up after we were finished playing every since she was a newborn. She has just seen us clean up so much (again be the example) that she now mimics us and tries to copy our behavior. Now that she is 17 months old, we do give her simple commands like throwing her diaper in the trashcan, putting her dirty clothes in the dirty clothes bin and simply "clean up" and demonstrating us cleaning up with her.

3. A place to store things - Like I mentioned, Sophia's dirty clothes have a specific bin they go in and she has seen us put them in that same bin so much that she now knows where they go. We also have all her toys organized in specific spots on her shelves and in specific bins, we make use of clear shoe box containers for sets of toys, decorative bins, vases, baskets, etc. She also has toys in her closet that are in bins (we rotate her toys) and she will ask for specific toys that are not easily accessible. She can even put her toys up in their bins and know where they go with assistance.

4. Schedule a tidy time 2-3 times throughout the day - To make clean up easier on all of us but even more so for a short attention span toddler, we have two specific times that we clean up every day and it is before nap-time and before bedtime. This helps prevent the mess becoming so big that it is overwhelming for anyone to want to clean up. It also helps her wake up each time to a fresh room where she can see her toys and what she wants to play with instead of being overwhelmed by chaos and ignoring her toys. Some days, we have more time to clean up as we go but for the days we don't and are super busy, we still fit in nap-time and bedtime clean up no matter what.

Another tidbit that is slightly off topic, I have heard so many parents complain that their children never play with their toys and we have found that being more tidy and having Sophia's toys organized and easy identifiable, she plays with everything. If we notice there is a certain toy she hasn't touched in a while we will rotate it with a toy we have stored in her closet. So not only being tidy but rotating her toys has kept her interested in all the toys she has.

Overall, be patient with your kids and be aware of their development and personalities. The younger they are, the more assistance they need and some kids may need more encouragement than others to adapt an attitude of tidiness.

See Sophia's Nursery Reveal here and all her Nursery Sources here.
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