Just ask any parent and they will tell you that toddlers can get out many toys in a short period of time. But putting them away is another matter.
Help your little one learn how to get organized so you can make the job of cleaning up something he can do with relative ease. You can even help make cleaning up his toys fun.
Put out boxes for all the LEGOs to go in one place and all the Lincoln Logs to go in another. This way he can just throw them in. He can learn that when he is finished playing with them, they have a place to go. Do not get them all out at one time or the job is much more difficult for you as well as for him.
Try to find a shelf or make one out of boxes for his books. He will learn that the books go on this one specific shelf.
Put up a couple of hooks where he can hang his jacket and perhaps his pajamas each morning. This is also part of getting organized.
Each day before nap time or bedtime, have a quick pick-up time. Several quick pick-up times during the day make it a lot easier in the evening.
Everything doesn’t need to be spotless, but he does need to learn to get organized as he grows older. He will be expected to help pick up when he is at school and that isn’t very far away. Learning how to be organized, like most things, begins at home.
The child who learns to be organized will do better in school. Actually, we can all use a bit of help in becoming organized.
There are many small thoughts on parenting that are unlikely to make an entire article. To help get these ideas out, we are including a few parenting hints to go along with this weekly article.
Parenting Hint No. 1
If you would like to enjoy your evening out at the restaurant, consider feeding your little one at home. Then just bring snacks and toys. It makes life easier and dinner better.
Parenting Hint No. 2
Humor catches a child off guard and can certainly get her attention. It sometimes gives her another chance to do the right thing. Instead of deciding to fight you, she laughs with you. There are plenty of times when you need to be firm and harsh. Take advantage of the times when it is appropriate to laugh and be funny and still get the job done.
Parenting Hint No. 3
You may not realize it but you probably have a magic timer in your kitchen. A kitchen timer is a great tool for parents.
For some reason, small children are less likely to argue with the timer. This gives you a great opportunity to use a magic timer. Use it to warn your little one that bedtime is near or that it is time to share a toy with his younger sibling or playmate.
You can even take it to the park to show your child that there are 5 minutes left to play. It will feel like magic.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. To reach interim First Teacher Executive Director Patty Waite, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-681-2250.