Lately we have had major issues with cleaning up before bedtime. We expect too much from our 3 year olds in many aspects and this is one of those areas. I tell them to clean up and to an adult that probably means put everything back in its proper spot. To 3 year olds it means put one thing in a basket and you are done. It dawned on me when I asked them to clean up, as always, and they scurried around and ran to me so proud, bragging about how clean their playroom was. When I walked in all I saw was a mess but they saw clean. I didn’t shatter their ego but cleaned up the rest when they went to bed. I really need to find a book or website on, honestly, what to expect from 3 year old.
Yesterday, however, the 3 of us sat down on the floor and threw all of their toys in the center of the room. Each girl got a pretty pink plastic basket with wheels and they put all their dolls and stuffed animals in there; ownership. Then they wheeled them to the corner of the playroom marked with their first initial; ownership.
We then gathered all books and put them in the book basket and categorized toys into littler baskets. We then took pictures of what goes in each basket, printed and taped them to the proper basket.
When I told them to put their toys away it was a breeze. How long will it last? A night or two is better than none. But because they helped with the organization process and developed a sense of ownership I think this may work.
Friends ask me why I bother so much with this. Well for a few reasons:
- To teach them responsibility. I think this is the easiest place to start with the biggest impact.
- If their playroom is a mess they won’t play in there and suddenly toys start creeping to my clean space. Once everything is put away they feel the need to start the exploration of destroying the room all over again.
- Because I like a clean house.
If this doesn’t work I can always go back to throwing things “out.”