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How do you get your kids to pick up their toys when they don't want to?

I've tried it all..singing a song, asking like a broken record, offering a special treat, and when that didn't work, threatening to take toys or privileges, taking the toys and/or privileges, even spanking. NOTHING WORKS!! I am starting to really lose my temper, and I just don't know how to get through to my kids!! They won't clean up unless I "help" them, which means me helping them clean the mess they made... I told them they are too old for that now, and that if they can make the mess, they can clean it up. They don't take me seriously and will not obey. My DH comes home and asks why I can't control a 5 yr old and a 3 yr old.... I don't know either.

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Asked by brandyj at 8:26 PM on Jan. 13, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 21 (10,228 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • I will tell my daughter no TV time if she doesn't clean up her toys. And if she doesn't want to clean them up then maybe she has too many, so I'll clean them up and see what we need to donate to little kids that have no toys to clean up.

    Answer by genagina at 8:28 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • with little ones- we made it a game and I usually helped...

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 8:29 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • I just started this and it has worked so far. We play I-Spy. I am always the spyer and they zoom around looking for what I spy. The rule is they have to put it away before I can spy something else.
    The other thing I do is tell them if they don't pick it up I am going to throw it away. It usually works, but if it doesn't I choose something they don't play with anyway and chuck it in the trash. They of course race around trying to get everything picked up before I choose something else.

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 8:30 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • @ SleepingBeautee
    My son will actually bring me something and say "Here mom..throw this one away." Like he's testing me! GRR!

    Comment by brandyj (original poster) at 8:34 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • i stand behind my daughter, hold her arms, and drag her limp body (why do they go limp?!?) to the mess. then i puppet-master her hands onto each object, bring it where it belongs, and repeat. she's only 2.5yo now so i've only done this maybe 2 or 3 times. and, i don't really wait until i'm at the end of my rope to do it. i give it about 2 repeats of "pick up your toys" within a span of one minute before i drop the hammer. she really doesn't revolt very often. don't know how much of that is my intolerance or her personality. i have a feeling it's more personality.

    Answer by mellypoo at 8:40 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • i tell my son he will not have his snack or his lunch until AFTER he picks up his room. it's such a motivation for him bc he knows after lunch he can watch spongebob! no lunch, no spongebob :( he also has a favorite game that i play with him every night and if his room is a mess before it's time to play i tell him he has to clean his mess up. i have had to spank him before bc he refused but now at four it's not a problem anymore

    Answer by angevil53 at 9:14 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • I told my daughter to clean up her room one day, came back 5 min later nothing. I said if you dont clean up your toys I WILL, she said ok mommy go ahead. I told her if I did we were giving them away, she said ok. So I picked up a tote FULL of tos and gave them away on freecycle, never had a porblem since

    Answer by buella at 10:24 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • I have told my four year old this since he was two: It is your choice Sweet Pea, if you want to keep your toys because you like them then you will clean them up and put them back into their proper home. If you don't want them....I understand. I will give them to a family that does want them. All it took was a few times of putting away his toys he left out to make him a believer. But I also never gave his cars back he did leave out. I used to help him pick up and expected him to do it with me. At four, he is old enough to do it by himself.  No need to yell or get frustrated.  Only take the toys left out.  I let him notice that the toy is gone.  I don't even say anything.  When he asks where it went, I tell him.  Sure there will be crying and the end of the world sob.  But a few times after are good to go.


    Answer by frogdawg at 11:25 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • Oh, and it is not just you. I'm sorry your husband can't believe you can't control your children. But it takes a partnership. Parenthood does not involve just one parent. Perhaps if they listen to him then he can step up to the plate. He needs to be the one to take a few days to be the 24/7 man. It can be done when he is not working. At that point you can be off duty and let's see how he does it. But a lot of moms have the same issues. Don't beat yourself up about it. Keep trying and use what works, ditch what doesn't.

    Answer by frogdawg at 11:29 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • Luckily we have a storage area. So any toys that are not picked up go to storage. Sometimes they clean up and sometimes not. It's their choice and when they run out of toys oh well! I refuse to fight with them. Do what you can! As for hubby, can he watch them for a week to see what you go through?

    Answer by mslksdh at 12:54 AM on Jan. 14, 2011

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