I am with Angela, I have great goals for structure and routine. I pull a fun activity out - step away to do something that is nagging at me and by the time I get back to them they aren't playing with 'it' they way they should and they have moved on to something else. I too struggle to get THEM to clean up before moving on!
What is the secret. Sometimes just remembering to tell them is hard to do.
I don't know if my method of teaching the boys to clean up after them selves is much of a secret but here it is:) The first thing is organization. The play room is organized into "Areas": (click the Area title to see a post on each area) Table Toys, Floor Toys, Reading Corner, and Busy Toys. You could have more areas if you child is old enough like, Art area, Music Area, writing Area, Computer Area, Sensory Area, Pretend Area or Science area. Also areas can be combined like Table Toys and Art Area could be on the same shelf while sharing a Table. Music Instruments could be with the Floor Toys. Each Area has a designated space in which to play with the toys. By having the work space close to the toys it makes cleaning up easier.
After I establish the areas I put on a little performance! It may sound silly but it works! I have the boys follow me to an area and I say, "Watch Mommy! I want to play with this puzzle" I then take the puzzle off of the shelf and carry it to the table. I take out a few puzzle pieces, put them back in and announce, "I'm all done with this puzzle, I'm going to put it away on the shelf!" I walk over and put the puzzle back and move on to a new activity. I do this several times with different toys the first time and it seems to keep their interest because I am a little dramatic:) Any time I put out a new activity I demonstrate how I would use it and then put it away. Keep in mind that Caden has got this down but Drake is about 75%. I still remind Drake whenever I see him leaving a toy without putting it away. Occasionally one of the boys will get a little stubborn and I will take the extra time to make sure they don't get out another toy and then they reluctantly clean up their other toy. It takes a lot of work and attention right now but It has already gotten so much easier over the last 2 months and Drake is catching on faster then Caden did when he was his age because Drake has Caden as an example. I'm hoping that this will mean that Jack will just follow right along when he gets to this age:) A girl can dream right:) Even though it takes a lot of work I have good reasons for taking it so seriously:
- Teaches responsibility
- When they know they have to clean it up it makes them commit to the activity before they get it out.
- Eventually it will make it easier on me
- It makes it so that no one child can hoard all of the toys
- It also teaches them to respect and care for their toys that Daddy has bought for them therefore, showing respect towards Daddy.
Hope this helps:) If any one has any other tips I would love to here them:)