Tidy Toddlers – It’s Possible With These Top Tips!
When you hear the word “toddler” what comes to mind? Probably not someone who’s neat, tidy and clean – toddlers and mess seem to go hand in hand! But there are ways of keeping the havoc a toddler can create under control, without tears from either of you.
Let’s face it, it’s possible to clean up after a toddler all day long but you’ll still be faced with a mess at the end of the day. Think of this though – isn’t it much more practical to leave mess where it happens during the day and wait until bedtime or teatime before you start to pick up the pieces. That compromise will give your toddler important freedom in her play; she can pick and choose between her games without worrying that they’re going to be cleaned up behind her UK Teatime results.
Try to be flexible about clearing up. If your toddler’s in the middle of constructing a brick castle or setting up a teddy bear’s tea party, then don’t insist that he has to put all his toys away just because it’s bath time or bed time. Gently move the work-in-progress out of everyone’s way and let him carry on again in the morning. If he’s finished the project, but isn’t ready to dismantle it yet – perhaps he wants to show it off to family and friends, then it’s good if you can respect his wish to keep it all together for a while .
When it does come to clean up time, remember you’re the one who wants everywhere to be tidy – your toddler isn’t that bothered, in fact probably finds all the mess very comforting – it feels like home! It’s only fair that you take on some of the work. But try to make the cleaning up process a team effort. Don’t be overwhelmed by the mess, and tackle one room or area at a time. Breaking down a huge task into smaller pieces makes it less daunting and frustrating for you both. When your toddler’s helping you, give her specific tasks one at a time, eg “Put teddy on the shelf, then put your cuddly puppy next to him” rather than “pick up all your cuddly toys and put them on the shelf.
Try to make tidying up fun – instead of instructing your toddler – “Put your toys away now!” why not suggest “it’s time for the toys to go to sleep in their beds now”. Challenging your child to a race that he can win is another way to make clearing up fun, eg “Let’s see who can put the most bricks in the tub by the time I count to ten!” Singing along to the work also makes it go more smoothly. You can also make tidying into a learning experience – try teaching colours by saying, “You put away all the red toys, and I’ll put away the blue ones”.
Don’t make the process difficult for yourselves – invest in some easy-to-reach child-friendly storage – low and open shelves, shallow bins and boxes, pegs that aren’t out of arms reach. Avoid using one big toy chest as toys will sink to the depths and get broken which will result in tears and frustration when your toddler can’t find what she’s looking for.
Finally – don’t insist on perfection. If your toddler seems to thrive on mess and muddle (and most do!) don’t insist she keeps her own room absolutely immaculate. Make sure the rest of the house is tidy, but allow a little flexibility in her own area. And once the job is done, why not sit down with a good book from Scruffy’s Bookshop – the ideal place to find a great selection of kids e-books – instant downloads to read together after an exhausting session of clearing up!