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How do I get my four-year-old to help pick up his toys!?

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Asked by schwartzsara at 1:53 PM on Mar. 13, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (11)
  • When you find out let me know! lol

    Answer by mominbolt at 1:55 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • This is very time consuming & takes tons of vigilance. After every single activity there is a clean up time. Clean up together & make it fun. For instance, who is faster, pick up all the yellow blocks first, and/or shapes. Once clean up becomes routine it will become 2nd nature. This takes alot of work in the beginning from you though. Give yourself extra time to play during clean up.


    Answer by Anonymous at 2:01 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • make a game out of it. We race to see who can get the most pieces picked up.

    Answer by pagirl71 at 2:01 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • Play the pick up game with him. That or he must put a toy away before he starts playing with a new one. Anytime he asks you for something, say yes, after you pick up your toys.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:02 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • Mak it a game. I pick a color and while I play music, they pick up as many toys of that color, then I pick another color, and we do this till they are all picked up. If all fails and he still won't do it, you physically take him over, put his hand on it and make him pick it up. If he continues to refuse, you sit him in a chair and explain to him that if he doesn't pick them up that you are going to, and every toy you have to pick up goes into a box and that box will be put away until he learns to pick up his toys when you ask him to. It's not about him not picking up the toys, it's the disobedience you need to deal with. Our 2 & 3 yr olds have mastered this because disobedience is not an option. If your son is 4 years old, he is way old enough to understand the how and whys of picking up toys. Just be consistent in enforcing your rules and your expectation of him following them.


    Answer by BlessedMommy64 at 2:15 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • Break it down, make it a game, and help him.

    Johnny, time to clean up the toys!
    You put all the blocks away. I'll put all the books away.
    Let's see who finishes first.

    "Clean up all your toys" is too big a job. Give him one specific thing to do. Once he does it, give him another. Helping him helps keep him focused. Making it a game helps make it fun.

    If you don't get any cooperation, the toys you asked him to pick up go in time-out. Pack them up in a trash bag and stuff them in an attic or hide them in the trunk of your car. He can have them back in a few days.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 2:30 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • Well my aproach is different. They don't have a choice. They do it or they stand in time out till they decided to do it. I help them pick up. but they know that if they are asked, they have two choices, get it done, or stand with their nose to the wall till they decided that they would rather do as they were told. I have a 5yrold, a 3.5yr old, 20mo old, and a 8 mo old. Minus the baby all three of them understand what is expected. Usually while picking up we play music, sing, or have little races. and that is all good stuff to do, but a 4 yr old should not have the choice as to wheather or not he or she should obey his parents. You are the mom. If you cannot gain control and respect from your child now, it will only become harder as he gets older.
    t might help to establish the rule that they may play with one toy, or group of toys at a time and that when done the toys go back, or by braking the toys down into cont.

    Answer by daughteroftruth at 4:44 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • smaller boxes and only allowing one down at a time. This lessesn the mess and if you can make boxes of toys that have a purpose... lilke a box with a race car ramp and several cars, or a box of train traks and trains, or kitchen play stuff... then that allso reduces the mess and makes play time more focused. To many toys usually just ends in distruction and less active stimulation for the kids. We have out toys seperated into little groups like that and stored in the closet. they have to aske to get to the toys, and all toys must be put away before a different box can be brought out. Since we started doing this, there has been little fuss when cleaning up. And my house is easier to manage.

    Answer by daughteroftruth at 4:49 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • I'm much like daughteroftruth in the since that my children know they have no choice it's clean or get punished. I have an 8, 7, 6 and 4 year old and don't need to stand over them and tell them to clean anymore, I did when the older ones were all babies but they've grown out of that and know what's expected of them. My four year old having older siblings thinks he's their age and won't question me as he knows he'll get punished, so he cleans his room by himself with no problems while I cook dinner every night, and on Fridays (cleaning day for everybody including myself) he gets more than just his room to clean up. :-)

    Answer by Knightquester at 5:21 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • guess im more of a softy....

    i just tell her to clean up,
    start her singing a clean up song we made up
    and check on her to make sure she is finishing.....
    sometimes i help her with the last of it, but she does it....i treat her with respect and she does the same for me and our home.

    sometimes i give her a little treat if she does a really good job, like a sticker or a gummy bear!

    Answer by haileys-mama at 11:38 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

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