Sunday, November 25, 2012


Provide and label boxes for toys and other item storage:
If there are spaces or containers already allotted for toys, clothes, bikes etc, it is much more tempting to put them away.

Set rules:
When your kids have finished with one set of toys, they should put them away before setting up something else.  When they take their clothes off after school or at night they should put them away at the time.

Tell them AND show them what to do:
Model your expectations.  Be a tidy bunny yourself. From a very young age kids can be shown how to fold up their clothes and put them in a drawer. They can also put toys in designated places. You can show them which clothes should be hung on a hanger or placed in a drawer and then watch them do it.

Give them plenty of warning:
It is not reasonable to expect a child who is totally engrossed in something to suddenly stop and clean up. Instead say, “In 15 minutes it will be dinner time and I want you to have put your toys away before we eat.”  Do not plead.  State what you want done clearly and the timing in which you want it done.

Praise them for doing a good job:
Kids love to please you. Say, “Thank you for picking up all your toys when I asked and for doing it willingly.  I appreciate it and now we have time to...”  When you recognize their efforts by telling them they have done a great job they will want to keep pleasing you.

Create incentives to comply:
“When you have cleaned up your room you can ask Jennie over to play.”
“When you have picked up your toys we will make that cake I promised.”
Note: Do not offer your kids money to do chores around the house.  They should understand that we work together to make the house tidy and clean as part of being a family.

Reduce the distractions:
If they are being slow, turn off the TV or take away whatever else is distracting them.

Set consequences for non-compliance:
Tell them beforehand what the consequences will be e.g. “There will be no going out to play until your room is tidy/these toys are put away.” Stick to your guns.  Tell them once only.  Make sure they are listening.  Have them repeat what you just said if necessary.  Be consistent. The minute you weaken, you have lost. 

Don’t do the job for them:
It is easy to fall into the trap of doing your kids’ work for them because it is quicker and easier that way.  Don’t do it – or you will be doing it forever and they won’t have learned those vital life skills!

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