Well, it happened. The other day, I ran over my sons Spiderman scooter. Yes, I know, I am sooo glad it was only a scooter and not a person or animal. Thank goodness. But it was a tough lesson for a 21 month old to learn. And, it wasn't really a hard-core lesson as the scooter is still rideable. Hmmm, kinda wish is was mangled so that he could forever see what happens when he doesn't take care of his toys. I am wondering when they are capable of learning this concept. You mess it up, you clean it up.
We have started to make this a rule. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a pretty situation but we are starting. My daughter will help voluntarily but my son seems to conveniently have no clue what I am talking about. Well, the other day, the play-doh was not picked up and put away so, it was thrown away. Everyone knows you can't leave play-doh out overnight. Everyone, except a toddler.
Even at other kids houses, we try to clean up as much as we can before leaving. I already know that my kids are really good at playing with toys and messing things up. Now I want to give them the skills to be really good at cleaning up those very toys. I plan to build on this concept and rule. If I went for it at this stage of their lives I think we would be toyless in about a week but if I continue to teach them how to clean up and what is expected of them no matter where they are, that can only help them down the road. And, cleaning can be fun, right?!
Like most people, we make a game out of cleaning up. We either sing a fun song. The whole song includes about 2 words...mostly Clean and Up. They seems to like it. Or, we make it a contest. You know, "who can pick up more blocks and put them in this bucket??" Kids love that stuff. Personally, I think more things in general can be accomplished if you make it fun. They had fun taking the toys out, why not have fun putting them away.