A child’s perspective
“Cleaning a room,” can be overwhelming for preschoolers, who have toys strewn across the floor and no specified space for each one. From the beginning of life, have appropriate shelves and storage spaces for each type of toy .If small messes are cleaned when they are made, they will not become big messes. Teach children at an early age so they do not become messy adults. Show children how to organize toys onto shelves, in buckets, containers, and boxes. Cleaning a room should not become a battle. If broken down into smaller, more specific tasks, cleaning a room can become a fun game.
Have a short, sturdy book shelf for books and a special place for puzzles. Use buckets for smaller items, boxes for other items. Teach your child where each toy lives. Make sure your child learns to put the toy in its place before getting another toy. Closely supervise, interact and talk with your child. Leaving a child or children alone to play with toys can result in a room that looks like a tornado ripped through it, as well as injuries and walls that have been marked on with markers, crayons, or colored pencils, which should be kept in containers in drawers and used with supervision.
An adult’s perspective
Get a sense of how overwhelming cleaning a room full of toys can be. Imagine entering a hoarder’s garage, erratically unorganized, hundreds of varieties of tools strewn across the floor, on top and inside of vehicles, and yard equipment in pieces located throughout various corners of dusty spider webs and rodent nests. Imagine if someone told you to clean that garage.
Cleaning, a fun learning game
Playing “I Spy” gets a young child to put toys in proper places. To play: Tell the child you will describe something in the floor (or in the baby pool) and you would like the child to guess it and put it on the shelf (or in the box, container, or bucket). Say, “I see a rectangle book…a green thing…a red toy…a yellow soft item…” Offer plenty of positive reinforcement or encouragement when the child picks up the correct item and places it where it belongs. When the game is finished and all the toys are where they belong, have your child look around. Praise your child. “Look what you did. You cleaned your entire room! How does that make you feel?” When a child feels a sense of accomplishment, intrinsic rewards will be gained, along with encouragement to continue this best practice.
A child’s perspective