June 14, 2010

Does packing toys away really work?!

KJ has had about 4 days to clean up her room.  My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, Care Bears, zoo animals GALORE!!! --all over her room!  :(  So, today, after hours of telling her to clean her room (and finding her playing instead), I gave her "one last chance".  I told her that I was going to go back and check on her and if I caught her playing, instead of cleaning, that I was going to box up all those toys that weren't cleaned up.

Unfortunately, I went back and she was playing -AGAIN!  :(  I boxed them all up.  The only thing that was cleaned up, that she has left to play with, is all her Build-A-Bear stuff and her coloring books and art stuff.  I can't imagine that  those items would make too much of a mess but I told her that if her room became messy again that I would box those items up too.

Have you ever done this?  Does it work?  How do you get your little one to keep a clean room?  Chris thinks she just has access to way too many toys at once . . . maybe he's right.  :(  Any suggestions?  Please and thank you.


  1. I run a home daycare in my home, and I have found with both my own child and the daycare children that making clean up a game is really the best way to encourage cleaning. Another thing that I really believe in is play, and the ability to re-visit play. I don't know how messy it was, but in my opinion a mess is okay as long as it is safe. My little ones have picked up on my saying "It is starting to look a little dangerous around here." Which is an immediate que to let them know that they need to reorganize thier play to make it more safe. Perhaps having an area where play can be revisited- Like a small rug would allow her to keep some toys ready for play while the rest needs to be cleaned up. Having a fun way to organize is also helpful, Perhaps a kitchen timer for a "speed clean?" Or asking her how she thinks that the two of you could work this out. Sometimes children have a hard time understanding your perspective, and providing the reasons for needing her room clean while respecting her need to revisit play may help both of you come up with a solution without having to take away toys. Hope this helps!

  2. Wow, those are some great comments and ideas above! I love the idea of making sure things are always safe, not necessarily spotless. Great point.

    Personally, for us, we have cleaning "races", racing against a kitchen timer that I have set. It works great for getting them to move, but my four year old (Izzy) still gets distracted very easily, and needs to be re-directed OFTEN! :)
    It also helps to have an incentive for after they have accomplished said cleaning task, even if it's just "We can't do our school work until your rooms are clean!", because for now, that still works for the kids!