If you have a three to five-year-old you know that his or her room can go from pristine to complete mess in under a minute. Often, your preschooler is all too willing to help you clean, but he or she thinks that cleaning means simply throwing his or her toys into the closet or bedroom. If you’ve been trying to get your preschooler to help you with chores such as cleaning and organizing, you might be just about ready to throw in the towel, but don’t do so yet. While some kids might not be ready to help organizing and cleaning at such a young age, many are — but you have to modify the process for them. Here are a few ideas that might help.
Invest in a lot of bins or baskets, and try to get them in many different colors. Then, assign a bin color to a type of toy. For example, cars might go in the blue bins, dolls in the green. Help your child clean up while explaining this new system. After doing it together a few times, your child might just start to pick it up.
If your child’s room has a lot of shelves, try taking pictures of the items that go on the shelves and taping those photos on the shelves where you want the toys to go. You can then turn clean up time into a fun matching game in which children must match the toy with its photo.
Sometimes kids have a hard time putting away their toys because they simply have too many. They might also be overwhelmed and have a hard time playing on their own if this is the case. To solve this problem, simply start a toy rotation. Buy several large, plastic tubs, and label each based on the kind of toy that it will hold. For example, stuffed animals, action figures, sports equipment, etc. Store toys that your child is not currently playing with in the bins, which should be placed outside of their room. White Rabbit’s garage ceiling storage works well for this. Then simply rotate the toys every month to two months. Of course, let your child keep his or her special toys and books out all year.