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  • Writer's pictureKate Coyne

Time to Clean Up


If your kids are anything like mine, and I bet they are, they love to play! When I say play I mean they like to dump all of their toys on the floor and then decide what they want to play with. Sometimes they don't even play with the toys, the dumping of the toys is the play.


So does this mean after their done "playing" someone (mommy or daddy) comes in to clean it up? Definitely not! Just as play is a very important part of a child's life, clean up should be as well. Why is clean up so important? It teaches responsibility for their belongings, helps them acquire pride in their hard work, and teach them to care of what they own and instills an important sense of belonging within the family. Here are some helpful ways to encourage your child to clean up while encouraging their language development!


Sing a Clean-Up Song

Every kids either loves singing or being sung to. You can sing the well known clean up song, play it from a device, or make up a silly song together. Years ago when my husband was helping our nieces clean up their kitchen set he made up his own silly verse which had the girls giggling for hours. We now use this version with our own children. Songs= language


Speed Clean

This is my son's favorite. We see who can clean up faster. Designate an area for each of you to clean then race to see who gets the job done faster. Set a timer and see if you , as a team, can beat the clock. Counting items that you pick up encourages labeling or numbers or you can label, describe the items as you put them away.


Giving and Following Directions in order to get the Job Done

This one takes a bit longer but is unexpected and can really feel more like play to kids. You can give 1, 2, or 3 step directions and when your kids get it right then they get to give you a direction of what to clean up next. Ex. "Clean up all the food items, after you put away the books." or "Put the big trucks in the cabinet and the little cars in the basket."

This one can also be used for the little ones, you just have to keep it very simple, Ex. "put in" "close".


The key in encouraging clean up is making it as fun as possible so it doesn't feel like work and remember to always praise their efforts while encouraging their language development.

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