Tips for Getting Toddlers to Enjoy Cleaning Up

Cleanup time doesn't have to be a battle. When the novelty of the cleanup song wears off and their willingness to help starts to fade, there are a few tips to help cleanup time go smoothly.

Make it a Game

Cleaning up doesn't always have to be a chore! There are ways to make it fun, and even educational. Kids can easily be overwhelmed by big messes, but breaking it down into smaller tasks can make it seem manageable.

The numbers game: Work on counting skills and break down the mess into a smaller jobs by picking five toys to put away, then four, then three, then two, then one. Repeat until the mess is gone.

The color game: Ask your child to find all the toys of each color to put away at a time.

Piles: Scoop toys on the floor into piles and let your child choose which piles to put away first. Having choices lets children feel like they have more control and can often make them more willing to do the work.


Having a designated place, or a "home," for each type of toy makes it easy to put them back where they belong. Bins are easy to label and vertical storage saves space. To discourage bin dumping, use sticky tack to keep the bins stuck in place. Check out the affiliate links below for storage solutions.


Kids seem to wind up with way more toys than they need. Even when we don't buy them anything, there are gifts from well-meaning friends and family. When you find yourself drowning in a sea of toys, it's time to minimize. We try to keep favorite toys and toys that encourage creativity and open-ended play. We throw away anything that's broken, and donate or sell anything that's still functional.

Pick the Right Time for Picking Up

Choosing the right time of day for chores can make all the difference for how compliant children are. No one wants to do chores when they're hungry or tired. Sometimes, that means leaving a mess until tomorrow. Spending a few minutes picking up throughout the day can be easier on everyone than tackling an entire day's mess before bedtime.

Positive Reinforcement

Messes can be frustrating. Convincing toddlers and young children to clean them can be even more frustrating. But the long term solution to kids who clean is positively reinforcing the behaviors we want. Every child is different and they all are motivated differently. Praise, encouragement, hugs, can go a long way each step of the way. Other rewards could include sticker or magnet charts that lead up to rewards like an allowance or visiting a special place.

Share on Google Plus

About Coffee and Wine Mom

Maddi Casey is a muscle car driving, hard working mama who is obsessed with football and good beer. She has two beautiful baby girls and loving husband. Writing is a passion, hobby and sometimes career of hers at She is also passionate about animals, nature and entrepreneurship.
    Blogger Comment


Post a Comment