I have an album on Facebook called “Let me help you, mommy!” and, well you guessed it, it’s not really about my toddler helping me ;). Every now and then the mess he manages to create is so epic, I have to take a picture, so I can shame him at his 18th birthday party! Just kidding. Or not. 😉
He gets to make mess and I get to clean up. But I don’t want this to be like that forever. You know, one day he will have a dorm room and I don’t want him to be that messy, that even his roommates would call and beg me to come and pick up after him! I thought I should start teaching him how to arrange his toys till he still thinks it’s all part of the fun. So I make him a part of the cleaning process. I don’t leave clean up or putting toys and books away for the time he’s asleep. I clean up with him. He’s watching and lately he started helping me. He hands me things, puts books in the bookcase, stuffs kitchen towels back in the drawer. No, he can’t fold towels and the books are not arranged very well, but I have a feeling that he’s doing a much better job than even some teenagers.
We turned the tidying into a game, that develops mathematical thinking and expands vocabulary!
While we are clearing up mess, we pick up things and talk about them (ok ok, I do the talking). We count toys and books that are being put away, another time we pick them by size – I take the big ones, he takes the small ones. Another time, we arrange toys by colour. Or by shape (is it just our house, or does your child have more than 4 balls too?). There are limitless variations to the game and if you make it part of play early enough, there is a chance your child will connect cleaning with play. Priceless, if you ask me! Maybe, just maybe, in some parallel crazy universe, when playing this game, you will wish there were more things to mess up, so you can play longer… no… I didn’t think so either. Just an attempt at a joke.