How many times have you asked your child to pick up their toys to simply have your request ignored? More than you can count?
Maturity vs Heart
When this occurs, I encourage you to ask yourself the following question.
Is my child not picking up the toys because of a maturity or heart issue?
In other words, is it that they can’t or won’t obey your request?
There are times when children don’t want to do what is asked of them (a heart issue). If this is the case then I encourage the Love and Logic one liner, “Feel free to pick up any toys that you desire to keep.” Allow the child to pick up toys for a short amount of time. Then gather all toys not picked up and either put them in time out for some time or give them away. Typically, as children begin losing toys. they will take the responsibility of taking care of their toys more seriously. Learn more in our Biblical Discipline Video Series.
But oftentimes I found that large tasks were too overwhelming for my young children. They didn’t have the maturity to be able to tackle a large mess. Breaking up the assignment made it doable. Here are some options:
Pick Up by Style
Divide and conquer asking the child to pick up a specific type of toy. First, put all the books in the basket. Second, lay all the cars in the bin.
Beat the Timer
Set a timer and then try to clean up the mess before it goes off. Call out specific items for each child to pick up so all remain focused.
Ask the child to pick up items based on their color, shape, or size. This adds mathematical learning measure (sorting) to the activity.
Count the Toys
Ask the child to pick up 5 or 10 of an item. Pick up 5 blocks. Pick up 10 trains. This helps with counting and 1 to 1 ratio.
Give a Choice
Ask the child, “Do you want to pick up the cars or books?”. This provides the child with a choice often limiting the desire to battle. Either pick up the other item or allow the child to pick up the second choice after the first one is finished.
Ask the children to find items based on the toys’ characteristics and then increase in numbers from 1-10. For example, find one thing with eyes, two toys with wheels, three triangle shapes, etc. Continue until ten legos/blocks and start again! Thank you to Shantel for sharing this fun idea on the ABCJesusLovesMe Facebook Group.
Large tasks can overwhelm young children. Breaking down the job will train the child and develop a work ethic.
So…which game will you use first?