Anyone else's toddler like to tidy up? Darcie is constantly asking to help mummy out and whilst this is seemingly something she enjoys I am totally going to encourage this! I first noticed that she likes tidying up when we took a trip to Primark over Christmas to stock her up on PJ's, she had a field day tidying up all the clothes that had been strewn across the floor. Cute yes, but now this is a regular thing every time we go to a "messy shop" as she calls it - which is slightly embarrassing when she say's this in front of staff!
Whilst she may find tidying up fun, her idea of tidying up and mine are very much worlds apart. So how can you get your toddler to be a help rather than a hinderance when doing the housework?
1. Never discourage tidying up, even if their not quite doing it "right".
It's very easy to get frustrated when doing housework with a toddler in tow, I have to admit I keep wondering what it's going to be like with two of them! But try not to get frustrated, and instead encourage them to get involved as much as possible. When cleaning the kitchen Darcie really likes to help clean our cupboard doors, in fact I don't think I have cleaned the cupboard door's myself in months! I get Darcie to use baby wipes so not to irritate her delicate skin and spray a tidy bit of anti-bac onto the cupboard directly and then she get's busy scrubbing away, whilst I can focus on the work surfaces and oven etc. It's nice to be able to do this task together, we chat away or bop along to music.
2. Clear storage for toys
One area we have struggled with is getting Darcie to put her toys back properly. When it get's to the end of the day she is very reluctant to pick them all up and put them away. I have found that having clear "homes" for all her toys helps them to remember where everything is supposed to go - it really does help with the process.
3. Reward charts
This is something we have yet to try, but certainly want to implement before baby no. two arrives. Darcie thrives on praise and really values a "well done" when she has done something good. I think some children benefit from seeing a visual indicator of good that they do and encourages them to want to do more. I have found some lovely ones online including this Chalk Board reward chart which can be personalised and reused over and over again, £30 from Not on the High Street. Etsy also has lots of printable reward charts, this Hot Air Balloon one is super cute and costs a mere £2.68, you can then print as many as you like! Let's not forget you can get creative and make your own.
4. Don't push it on them
If they are really disinterested then don't push them to do it, if you're constantly nagging then toddlers/children will soon lose interest and will not want to help mummy and daddy. Instead try to make a game of tidying up, like sometimes me and Jamie will get her toy boxes and then have a race between us to see who can get the most toys in a box - 9 times out of 10 Darcie will then want to join in. You gotta out fox these little guys sometimes!
5. Tell them you appreciate their help.
Whilst reward charts can be fantastic, don't forget to verbally tell them what a good job they are doing. Make sure you let them know how much you value their help and this will give them a great feel good factor that perhaps a reward chart can't do as well. Since falling pregnant Darcie has become such a good little helper, at two years old she can load up the washing machine and set it all up for me with minimal interference - think she will be a life saver once bubs is here!!
Of course she does have her moments where she can be a little bit of a pain in the butt, but I'm hoping with encouragement and fun that we can bring to clearing up, some good habits will stick - fingers crossed!
Does your toddler like to help out at home? Any tips?
Mummy B xoxox