toddler cleaning up, teaching a toddler to clean up

Simple Ways To Teach Your Toddler To Clean Up

Odds are if there is a toddler living in your home, there is a trail full of blocks and figurines in every room. It can quickly turn into full blown mom exhaustion when you are constantly picking up after them time and time again. However, there are some simple ways to teach your toddler to clean up their toys. See, no matter how many times I pick up the Transformers up from the floor in my living room, they make their way back within the hour, but recently I think I’ve managed to beat their little messy system. Here are the simple ways I’ve taught my toddlers to clean up.  

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1. Have Designated Containers So They Know Where To Put Their Stuff

 Using color coded containers for specific toys really helps keep things organized. It also makes it easy for them to understand what goes where. Cars go into the blue bin, trains in the green and so on. Maybe the big bold colors aren’t your forte ( hey I get it! Mine neither) you can always opt for more muted colors but the idea still holds true.

2. Be Ready To Guide Them

 If you ask them to clean up and they’re just learning, make sure you have the time to sit with them. Otherwise it’s almost guaranteed they will get shiny object syndrome and get distracted and find some random toy to play with and whala! There goes cleanup time. I made this mistake with my little ones when they were younger. For whatever reason I just assumed if they observed me constantly cleaning up after them and I said “ it’s time to clean up” they would do it. I know, I know, I don’t know what the heck I was thinking. But once I got it through my thick skull that hey, I really need to show them the way, they instantly followed suite.

3. Make It Fun With Songs

The clean up song is the way to go! I honestly don’t know who came up with this ingenious song (I could possibly google it but hey who has the time) but I wish I could shake their hand. My boys love it, and they instantly start singing together when they clean their room. It’s really stinkin adorable.

4. Make It A Game

My boys are SUPER competitive. So at this point, I can pretty much leverage anything I want them to do by asking them “who is going to win?!”. The best tactic? Not really sure, but hey it’s working and helping me survive motherhood. Plus they think it’s fun and I think that’s pretty cool. And on the bright side, I’m able to teach them grace when they lose and kindness when they win.

There you have it, the four simple ways to teach your toddler to clean up. Wishful thinking but now if I could just teach them to fold the laundry, that would be a real treat!


  • Designated Containers 
  • Be Ready to Guide Them 
  • Make It Fun With Songs
  • Make It a Game



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8 thoughts on “Simple Ways To Teach Your Toddler To Clean Up”

  1. Such great tips!! I did several of these things with kids when they were toddlers and it absolutely works! I even catch my 10 year humming the “clean up song” when he has to clean up his room, it stayed with him over the years I guess 🙂

  2. Most people would be surprised to know that most toddlers LOVE helping. I would give my littles chores and they’d feel like grown-ups.

  3. I have a four year old and he has SO MUCH STUFF. Cleaning up is something we make a game of – we have a song and that helps so much.

    1. It’s amazing how fast the toys accumulate isn’t it! Singing while we clean up is definitely a big hit in our house too 🙂

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