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How do you get your kids to tidy up at the end of the day?

(30 Posts)
AngelDog Wed 08-Jul-15 20:51:23

It's a constant flash point here. They're 5.5 and 2.9 y.o.

Incentives (5 mins tidy then a big cuddle / piece of food / whatever) work for a day or two, then DS1 refuses to do any tidying at all unless I provide an incentive.

"If it's still on the floor it goes in the bin" doesn't work as DS1 puts away the things he most likes then ignores the rest. If I remove the things he most likes, he either goes mental or decides he didn't want them anyway. DS2 gets so upset about toys being confiscated he is pretty much unable to do any further tidying - or he starts grabbing DS1's toys and pre-emptively putting them all in the bin, and I have to rescue them.

I can do it with them and make it into a game but it takes AGES and I've never got to the point where they'll get on with it more without my constant participation. DS2 still just wants to play with everything even with me there.

We have a pretty straightforward storage system (Duplo box, train box, everything else box, bookcase) so I don't think that's the problem.

Any tips?

ReluctantCamper Wed 08-Jul-15 20:54:34

I employed bribery, a star chart which gave him the ability to 'win' some rather spectacular lego which DH had bought in a fit of generosity. He still tidies up now, but not so enthusiastically. I do have to participate though.

chocolatebourbon Wed 08-Jul-15 21:12:52

Only answer for me was to make tidying up a constant all day activity. Whenever child asks for a snack/drink/help with something/you to play something with them, the answer is "Oh yes, as soon as we have tidied up XXX." I don't help that much any more with toy tidying as if I start helping then I end up doing most of it myself. If it's the end of the day I will chat/nag/give moral support as they tidy, as this is the worst time of day for getting them to do stuff. At the end of the day they (usually) get a star for helping round the house and I will remind them what they did that was good eg you tidied up all the X toy on your own. I do threaten withdrawal of specific fun stuff if they don't do as asked (eg X can't come to play tomorrow/no TV time) but don't usually have to follow through on it as they know from past experience that I mean what I say!

lexyloub Wed 08-Jul-15 21:24:40

I'm still trying to figure it out! my ds (5) would quite happily let me throw all his toys in the bin rather than tidy away himself. My oldest ds (8) is quite good at tidying away, I think if they want to do it they will if they don't want to no amount of arguing bribing rewarding shouting will change it. As mine are older than yours they probably have significantly less amount of toys than your dc and at their ages theyre less likely to be compliant anyway.

SurlyCue Wed 08-Jul-15 21:27:45

Tidying up through the day, perfect my dont mess with me face, shout when necessary. Mine are 6 and 10 now and rarely need told.

AngelDog Wed 08-Jul-15 21:31:29

Tidying through the day sounds like it might be worth a try. We home educate so they're around a fair bit to make a mess!

MyFriendsCallMeOh Wed 08-Jul-15 21:39:47

Loud music and timer set for15 minutes. We race at it like mad things, my kids are 6 and 10 and we all tidy together.

Kiwiinkits Wed 08-Jul-15 23:09:48

You can use the timer on the microwave or an egg timer. Set it to 1 minute and have a race to see who can tidy up the most.

Or, the "when and then" method. "When you've put 30 pieces away then you can watch TV"

Or, for younger children, you can sing the "tidy up time, time to put the toys away" song which is so well loved by kindergarten teachers everywhere.

Kiwiinkits Wed 08-Jul-15 23:10:29

You'll probably need to participate in races, tidying. Mine only really love it if I'm doing it alongside them.

Kiwiinkits Wed 08-Jul-15 23:11:35

Sorry, one last thing. Make it part of your everyday routine. Do it the same way every. single. day. e.g. we always tidy up our toys after lunch before being allowed a story.

ThisFenceIsComfy Wed 08-Jul-15 23:11:41

I'm cruel, I say that the hoover will eat anything left on the floor. I even have a special voice for the hoover.

Kiwiinkits Wed 08-Jul-15 23:13:19

Shouting and cajoling and pleading will never ever work. It has to be a game so as they're not "doing you a favour" they're getting some fun or reward for themselves. Because kids (like grownups) are selfish little pricks generally speaking ;)

hopingforsleep Thu 09-Jul-15 20:09:28

My ds is a bit younger , 2.3 and we've always tidied up before milk and stories but recently he's become more reluctant so I say he can choose one thing to leave out, this seems to appease him and he'll then help tidy everything else away. We also do bits of tidying during the day so it's not too unmanageable and have a timer for play time after dinner and he knows that when this goes off it's time to tidy up

AngelDog Thu 09-Jul-15 23:07:45

Thanks, everyone. Doing some before going out for the afternoon seemed to help today.

bettysviolin Fri 10-Jul-15 20:42:20

I used a timer. It was a competition to see how much they could put away in 5 mins. For some reason this got them crazy for it! Also, works to be very specific. for their bedrooms I'd get a much better result if I asked them to put all dirty clothes in wash basket. Then all books in bookcase. All teddies on bed etc. Usually get them to do this while sorting laundry nearby so I can supervise without wasting time.

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 10-Jul-15 20:47:30

Mine are 6 & 8 so not so much of the 'explosion in a toy factory' scenario these days. I find that tidying up music is quite handy, our current jam is Harry Belafonte... (thanks Youtube)

goingwildforcrayons Fri 10-Jul-15 21:12:36

Tidy up songs. DS loves Thomas the tank so "working together" from one of the films (can't remember which is good)

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 10-Jul-15 21:18:56

Tidy as you go. "Mam will you get the big jigsaw out the cupboard?" - "yeah once the Lego is away".

We also have sort of drummed in habits like shoes-off-and-in-the-box....clothes-off-and-in-the-basket.... just habitually reminding them evebtually pays off.

BertieBotts Fri 10-Jul-15 21:27:59

Also making it as easy and low effort as possible helps. Like stack board games vertically (like books) rather than horizontally on top of one another. You just slide it back into place rather than having to prise the pile up to squeeze it back underneath, etc. Big drawers/tubs for things rather than complicated displays. There's a great lego storage bag/rug which is like those drawstring bags you can make with a circle of fabric and some wool but on a huge scale. At the end of the day you just make sure all the lego is on the rug and pull the cord, it ties up neatly and you can put it in a drawer or on a shelf.

And yes to doing it earlier. Nobody wants to tidy up when they're all sleepy and ready for bed. Maybe have a designated time after which all messy toys are away and certain, easy-to-clear-up activities are done only.

Oh - and DS' kindergarten has a genius thing which I love and has helped - if they have started a big build or project that they want to carry on the next day, they have a little laminated STOP sign which they can put on it, which means nobody is allowed to tidy that thing up. There's only one, but they're usually happier to tidy up the other things knowing that one is safe.

NickiFury Fri 10-Jul-15 21:40:48

No screen time the next day if the don't tidy their rooms. It's very effective.

NoParking Fri 10-Jul-15 21:44:35

TV doesn't go on until everything is tidy. And the tidy up time song when they were smaller. But mostly no TV at all that day until tea is finished and everything is tidy.

WhoisLucasHood Fri 10-Jul-15 21:54:21

We use the timer for a couple of minutes. They race me whilst I clean the kitchen. I usually lose.

Prettyinblue Fri 10-Jul-15 23:37:36

I give them 5 'jobs' to do. One at a time, and break it down dependent on their age.
So for the 9 &8 year old of tidy up your side of the room is a job, but for the 5 year old picking up the lego is one job.
For the 2 year old it could be putting a bit of rubbish in the bin, or Pjs under the pillow.

Too big a job seems undoable.

Making it into a race works sometimes as does threats and bribery.

But most important is just expecting them to do it then they do (sometimes....)

CallieG Sun 12-Jul-15 05:41:41

I found that a child's willingness to assist with household chores diminishes with their ability to do so, boys tend to be far less co-operative than girls, I have 4 kids and it has been a battle their whole lives to get them to do their share and do it without having to be nagged, bullied and bribed into it. The best I could do is that I have taught them all How to do the chores, they know how to do laundry, vacuum, clean the bathroom, kitchen & grocery shop etc. Once they were old enough though I refused to do things for them that they were able to do themselves, I stopped cleaning their bedrooms once they were all about 8 yrs old, I stopped picking up after them, I stopped looking after their toys ,books etc, I stopped even going into their rooms, If something was left around the house I would open their bedroom door, toss the offending item in then shut the door again, if they wanted to live like pigs then I just insisted they keep the door shut and any child that asked me "Mum do you know where my (insert item here) Is? was told, "Where ever you left it" I did not assist in searching for lost items & guess what, the 3 girls at least learned to clean their rooms and keep track of their own shit. My son is a grot but he does NOT ask me about his crap or where it is. As long as they do most of the things i ask them to, most of the time then I can let it go after all , adults are not little robots that do everything everyone wants all the time & they will learn quick smart once they move out of home that flatmates don't tolerate slobs, and the light at the tunnel for me i that one day I will have a nice, very clean tidy house again, I just hope I am not too senile to enjoy it.wink

WLmum Sun 12-Jul-15 11:19:20

Tidying against the timer works well here - if we can get it all done in 10 mins then we can have the telly on and a hot chocolate before bed

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