Getting young children to tidy up is one of the things we have, in the past, found to be a constant issue.
They want to play with one toy, then they soon forget that and get something else out. Before you know it, they have emptied the entire contents of their bedroom out on to the floor!
Then they move on to the lounge, bringing one toy after another into the lounge to play with.
Then they move out into the garden and get any available outdoor toys out, leaving chaos in their wake.
I have often thought of my children as mini tornadoes because of the debris they leave behind them!
We have, however, found a quite effective way of getting the house back in order, without us having to run around and tidy up behind them.
How I get the children to tidy up
Do you want to know my secret? I call it the black bag technique.
It really is quite simple to do.
First you pick a good time to ask the children to tidy up. There are some times which are a good time to ask them:
- If you are about to have dinner
- If you will be going out soon, or
- it’s bedtime soon
These are generally good times because they offer the opportunity of a natural break in their playtime.
Next you ask them to tidy up. Tell them they have a certain amount of time to do this. I usually allow 10 minutes. If they get distracted by something while they are tidying and haven’t done anything after this time, go back and tell them they have a further 10 minutes to get it all tidy and give them a warning. If they haven’t tidied up by the time you come back, all their toys will go in your black bag (i.e. a bin liner), and the black bag will be all the toys they will lose.
You can either tell the children you will be throwing the bag in the bin, or you can make them earn them back, a little at a time. You must be prepared to carry out this part, otherwise it won’t work!
Please note that I threatened my children that I was going to put the bag in the rubbish. I did, in fact, hide the bag until such time as I had enough reaction from the children that they actually thought they’d lost their toys forever. At this stage I did let them have them back, with a further warning that if I had to ‘black bag’ their toys again, then they would lose them.
From my own experience, I found that I only had to actually carry out the black bag technique once before they actually started tidying, either during the first 10 minutes or quickly after they’d had their warning!
Usually the rattle of a bin liner is enough to get them moving.Google+