Neat & Tidy

Toddlers are at a perfect age to begin practising responsibility because they love to help you and mimic what you do.  A very simple way to get started (and make your life a little easier) is to begin by encouraging your baby to clean up toys independently.  Now is a great time to start putting one toy away before getting out another and making sure all is tidy at the end of the day.  Here are some tricks and tips to making toy clean-up simpler…..

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: African Animals

Activity DescriptionClean Up: After play time or doing an activity, encourage your baby to clean up independently.  Ensure it is easily done and do this daily.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional

Specific Skill: Being responsible

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 22 months + 2 weeks

1. The only warm-up to this activity is playing!!  This evening the girls had mainly two sets of toys out: puzzles and music toys.  When it was time for the bath, I asked them to clean up.  I don’t help them but I encourage them with praise and say things like, “I see one under the chair! Who can help get it?”



O gets started on the puzzles

O gets started on the puzzles

M helps with the music toys

M helps with the music toys













How can I get my baby to clean-up the toy mess?

  • Make it part of your daily routine
  • Add an audio cue (sing a clean-up song, ring a bell, etc.)
  • Ensure that it is easy for your baby to put away the toys (Can your baby easily access the toy bins?)
  • Allow ample time for clean-up.  If you start clean-up five minutes before you need to leave, you’ll probably end up frustrated at the pace and manner which your baby cleans!
  • Praise your baby’s efforts to clean-up the toys (If you have a reward chart, include clean-up)
  • Toddlers love to help so say things like, “Can you help me?” OR “Who can help put these toys away?” OR “What a great helper!”….you get the idea…
  • Toddlers love to play games so try saying things like, “Can you be a lion who cleans up?” or you can be the ‘goalie’ guarding the toy bin and they have to get by you to put away the toys… be creative!
  • Don’t expect perfection.  Your baby’s thought process, effort and improvement in clean-up skills are most valuable so remember to complement and encourage those things, not just completion of the task.

What are the benefits of encouraging responsibility in young children?

  • Aids in teaching time-management skills
  • Makes daily routines simpler and smoother for everybody
  • Encourages independent thinking
  • Encourages problem solving
  • Encourages focus & concentration
  • Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Allows for meaningful contribution to the family and eventually society


Click here to see a helpful post about the benefits of rotating your baby’s toys


This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

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