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Get Your Toddler to Clean Up

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 11-01-2007

Are you tired of your kids acting like royalty around the house? Making a mess of their rooms as they throw away their clothes and food, expecting you to go picking after them?


Enough is enough – pull yourself out of the mess by teaching your toddlers to help. Its time for Operation Clean Up!


As a parent, the following steps will certainly help with the clean up:



  • STEP 1: Make an announcement. Let your toddlers know that it’s time to clean up. Give them a specific place to put the toys – a plastic tub or a toy box will do fine. Place the container in the middle of the room.

  • STEP 2: Using a loud voice, say “Look at this huge mess. Is there anyone who can help me?” as you are setting the container down. A toddler’s attention tends to pick up this tone. You can also make up and sing a cleanup song to get them into the swing. Remember to be happy and positive about the task.

  • STEP 3: By means of demonstration, pick up some toys on the floor and place them in the container. All the while you can continue with the singing and coaxing.

  • STEP 4: Now is the time to ask your children to (please) pick up a specific toy. Thank them when they start placing toys in your hand or in the container.

  • STEP 5: Always keep a back-up plan, as a consequence for not helping. Give them a timeout or better still, you can threaten to take away one of their treasured items till they start cleaning up.

  • STEP 6: Warn the toddlers only once and then follow through with the consequence if they don’t help.

  • STEP 7: Continue cleaning up the toys until all of the toys are picked up.