Monday, March 19, 2012

How to get a toddler to clean up

This post is for parents of toddlers............specifically toddlers that will never help clean up and think that mama should clean up everything. (Probably most toddlers.) My girl Cella (3 yrs old) does not like to clean up her playroom or bedroom. Usually when either room is a disaster, she tells me that I need to clean it so she can play! And it never goes well, I have to hover over her constantly telling her what to do, losing my patience along the way, and eventually I am just cleaning by myself and I am mad. Not good. So yesterday I had a brilliant idea and I thought I'd share it with y'all.  I swear the good Lord shone down and placed this idea in my brain so I wouldn't end up beating my children in the years to come! (p.s. i really don't beat my children, so don't get carried away) 

Here is what I did:

I made a list for her with illustrations. We sat down together and I went through each step and drew out an illustration. For example ~
1: Pick up all of your dolls and stuffed animals and put them on the chaise lounge. 
2:   Put all books on the shelf
3: Put all play food in your kitchen
4: Put all dress up clothes in the trunk, and all purses, hats, and necklaces on the hooks.
5. Anything leftover that was not on the list, put it in a pile on your table and I will help you clean it up. 

She was actually excited and asked me to hang it up on her board so she could see it while she was cleaning.  I really wish I had a before picture, but this photo that was taken a while back will just have to do (just imagine way more baby dolls, stuffed animals, books, dress up clothes and junk on the floor (minus the lion and one of the rugs ~ I'm sorry but this is the only photo I could find and it's from a while ago). 

Cella dressing up JanJan

When I came to check on her in about 15 minutes, this is what I found: 

 Now there are a few things still on the floor, but friends this is AMAZING. I was so proud, and I told her over and over, and made a big deal out of it. She was beaming and was proud of herself too. 

And that's not all, tonight while her daddy was putting her sister to bed, she came to me with a piece of paper and asked me to make a list so she could clean her bedroom. Seriously?! I really couldn't believe it. So I did, and when I went up to check on her after about 10 minutes her room was almost spotless. Y'all, this is a straight up miracle. I don't know how long it will last, but I'm going to enjoy it while it does! And maybe even get her to clean my room too! ;)


  1. That's awesome! I wouldn't have thought of that. Will have to use this in the future. Hope y'all are good!

  2. I am beaming for you! That is completely awesome and would work for preschools. And as I read it, I could totally see the excitement in you,too.

  3. I'm locking your idea in my brain for when this day comes at the Lott abode. Awesome. Cella is such an A+ student. Sweet sweet girl. ;)

  4. I need you to make one of these lists for me. I cannot get my bedroom together. So awesome


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