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Clean-Up Time Made Fun!

Written by: Nanny Secours

April 9, 2015

Here is a common situation in most houses; toys have taken over and cluttered every room! What’s more, the kids don’t even play with half of them anymore. Here are some suggestions to improve the situation and reclaim your house.

Reduce the number of toys accessible to your children

  • Establish a regular rotation of the toys your children play with. As a bonus, they’ll have the impression they have more toys!
  • Too many toys forces children to make choices, which can be difficult as they would like to play with everything at once. Remember that too many toys can be very visually stimulating for a child, sometimes even a little too much.
  • Less toys to clean up is also much less discouraging for the child when the time comes to put these away.

Clearly establish which rooms are for toys

  • A visual support is often a safe bet with children! Try laminating a picture or a poster with toys surrounded by a green circle and hang it on your child’s bedroom or play room.
  • Have large, easy to handle storage bins and identify their contents. For this to be appropriate for all ages, write down the contents and stick a picture or drawing next to the label. If you have shelves for storage, you can paste a picture of each bin directly on the shelves where you want these to go.

Clean-up time can be a game too!

  • You can have a clean-up song. Many children know these from school or daycare. If not, ask your child’s caregiver or teacher.
  • Make a race of it! Play a song your kids like and tell them that everything has to be cleaned before the end.
  • Give your children different missions: one must pick up all the cars and the other the Lego blocks.
  • Ask your children to put away their toys by colours. Red toys first, then blue, etc. You can check if your children know their colours or help them learn these in a practical way.
  • Help clean up, but at the same pace as your child.
  • Give your children a head’s up that you’ll be changing activity soon so they can get used to the idea. It can be very frustrating for a child to abruptly have to stop a game without warning. A small timer or clock will help your child know how much play time is left.


And remember…

  • Explain to your children why it’s important to pick up their toys. It’s easier for children to following instructions if they understand why. 
  • For those who use a chart to illustrate the morning/evening routine, add a clean-up image to your routines.

It’s clean-up time!

Hélène Fagnan,Family Coach
Founder of Nanny Secours

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