When can a child be asked to clean after himself?

Denmark
February 20, 2007 7:43am CST
I was surpised the other day, when I saw my 18 months old son putting toys back in a box himself after he had played with them. This was not at hour house, and there were also other kids he had been playing with who were helping cleaning up the place. I am now wondering if I should already teach him how to put his toys back after he played with them? To be honnest so far, I just do it myself, and when he is with me and watches me do it, he just goes and pick up the stuff again (so he basically messes it up again right away!) Thanks for sharing your good advice or experience on that matter ;)
12 people like this
38 responses
20 Feb 07
I get my 2 year old to help me tidy the toys. However I don't think I did it with my older daughter. I need to show I'm treating them the same so they both have to help. I think its a good routine for them to get into, even if they only tidy one toy at least they know that they have to help a bit.
3 people like this
• United States
20 Feb 07
I honestly think that there is nothing wrong with having your child start to help you out now. I would not demand that he do it but I would say something like would you like to help mommy pick up the toys and if he does then wonderful but if not then I would not worry about it to much. The age that your child is at now is when I would for sure make mine pick up a few toys when we were at someone elses house but I did not insist upon it when we were at home. I have three children and I have learned that the younger you teach them to do this the better off you will be in the future. If you wait to long then it will be nothing but a fight with your child. Also if you make it fun for your son he will want to clean up after himself more and more. I think that it is a good idea to start teaching them when they show interest or show that they can.
2 people like this
@Dolcerina (3380)
• Hungary
20 Feb 07
Yes, the little children has the good property to try to copy us. But unfortunatelly as they become older they only like to watch how we put away their toys. My son will be 7 in may. I always have to argue with him to put away his toys. BUT in the kindergarten I saw him to put away the toys he played with without a request. He knows that he must do it. But at home.... He begins to play with the cars, then he realize he would draw. So he lefts everything all over his room. After finishing drawing he lefts the pencils and pens all over the floor, and he begin to watch tv. I do not check him always, so by the time I look into his room everything all over the room, and I have to ask him to put away everything, and he gets upset with me! From september he will attend the school - and I do not dare imagine how will he care with his school-books.
2 people like this
@XxAngelxX (2835)
• Canada
20 Feb 07
I started right away. He's certainly not to young to learn (as you've already witnessed). I think the big problem is that as parents we usually do it because it's faster and easier for us, but we need to make them help and that way they learn it needs to be done. The sooner we start teaching them, I think the easier it is in the long run.
2 people like this
@reinydawn (11651)
• United States
21 Feb 07
From the time mine could "play" with the toys - I mean, pick them out of the toy box and do his own thing with them - he was taught to put them back when he was done. I know this was younger than 18 months, it's around the walking time... When we moved into my mothers house for a while, my sister and her son (about the same age as mine) lived there also. My nephew never put his toys away and my son got out of the habit. It was easy to get him back into it though when we got our own place.
1 person likes this
@Chele2k2 (242)
21 Feb 07
I don't think there are any right ages to ask a child. However a bit of encouragement at any age never hurts. Many children pick up routines from parents everyday, most will join in and try to help. My children like to help out sometimes, I guess it gives them a sense of achievement and the more enjoyment they get from being involved encourages them to help out more.
@Razzles (391)
• United States
21 Feb 07
That is great! Your child at this age is learning from you that when he has finished playing with something to put it away. When you see him do this, it is always good to praise him, so he will want to do it again. Your child also observes other kids doing the same thing and this encourages him as well. At this age, you can make it like a game, so it doesn't become a chore, if you know what I mean. This is the perfect age to start.
@Rittings (673)
21 Feb 07
I think the sooner that your child can take on a responsibility like this then the better. It's different for all children at different ages, but if they become too reliant on their parents' help on small issues such as cleaning their own toys, then it will be a hard habit to break later on. I would recommend that if you have seen that he is capable of cleaning and tidying at someone else's house, then he should start to learn that discipline in his own house. You should try to instill in him a sense of pride and care for his own belongings... I was pretty lucky in that my parents' did things for me.. or so I thought... I was actually being held back from my development by them, and I struggled through my teen years because of simple factors such as tidying and cleaning. I didn't respect my belongings the way I should, and I paid a much heavier consequence for that when my things would go missing, or even break. Cheers!
1 person likes this
@Mommamea (1215)
• United States
21 Feb 07
I don't think it is ever to young to start teaching children to do anything. Children learn from things they see you and others do. It does help them to develop in more ways than we think. You may think he is just learning to clean up when he is actually learning to sort, count, colors, identify objects, organization, pleasing others and many other things. You never know what is going through little ones minds. Praise him for doing a great job and helping out. I would continue to get him to do this at home. You will have to teach him these things to go to school so the sooner the better.
@jkpaid (99)
• Uganda
21 Feb 07
well your child looks to be a bright one it would be better if you could get him a special trainer you may be having a genius there.
1 person likes this
@tanya6 (333)
21 Feb 07
my son will be three in april and he is a very tidy child ever since he could crawl really i have included him in putting toys away and general cleaning he used to love helping me dust and sweep the floors not so much now as he has far more important adventures to see to lol. but when i ask him he is more than happy to help i never expect a great deal from him but so long as he tries i am happy and its nice when we visit other peoples homes and when i ask him to tidy away he does so without any complaint, i think its just normal for him now to clear away after himself and i think it will be a very good quality for him to have as he grows. dont get me wrong sometimes i want the house to be tidy for visitors but he wants to play and finds it very funny to get out all the toys we have just put away but then thats what makes him a child.
1 person likes this
@willocfc (965)
• Australia
21 Feb 07
I dont have children myself, but i think its best to teach kids from an early age, when i was a child i was always told to clean up after myself, and it was something i just became accustomed to. I am still a clean person now, so it must have worked
1 person likes this
@suman76 (648)
• India
21 Feb 07
This is really good achieved and good begining of your child and he knows how to keep his toys in a proper place and he knows that it looks odd if he spread his toys every where. Infact I also want to teach my daughter this things but she is 11 months old and he always take out the toys from her bucket and put it everywhere and if you keep her toys in the bucket again she take it my their and put it down.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Feb 07
There is a fourteen month old that I watch and when he dumps his dry cereal on the floor, I expect his to pick it up. I don't think I expect too much he does it and his 2 year old sister helps him. I also help but I make sure he picks up some too.
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Feb 07
My kids always cleaned up after themselves , I started asking them to help MOM at a very young age . At first i made it like it was a game I was playing with them . I always told them if wanted a TREAT they had to help MOMMY put their toys away (that was when they were younger ). Anyways they are both grown up now , but they still clean up after themselves . I taught them . if their done with their toys put them away . and as long as they did it wouldn`t take them as long to clean up the next time . I mean , You know , Every time I go into my kitchen I would take whatever garbage is where I was I would take it with me on to the kitchen , so at the end of the day there was WAY LESS to clean . I don`t know it worked for me and my KIDS . I say kids should be taught early . Same as kids who only eat junk food , where did they get that from ? From us their parents . kids do live what they learn , AND we have to teach them or else how would they know ?
• United States
21 Feb 07
when my kids where yonger i started showing them how to clean up after themselves at about 1 year old. when it is time to clean up we would sing the barney clean up song together and my girls loved that.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Feb 07
Sure, he is old enough to pick up after himself. This allows himm to learn responsibility and to take care of his belongings. Sounds like a good kid!
1 person likes this
@tater03 (1765)
• United States
20 Feb 07
I would say the earliest the better. One thing I did was I would put a basket in the living room and he was to put his toys in that during the day and then at the end of the day we would take the basket down and put the toys away. You might have to do it a couple times a day because the basket can fill up fast.
1 person likes this
@Marshell (60)
• United States
20 Feb 07
Basically kid's will pick up what they want when they want!Please keep exposing him to those kids! Children who clean up after themselves in this day and age is a premium! Seriously; keep up what you are doing. Ask the youngster if he wants to help mommy; pretend you are having fun. My granddaughter is 5 years old and cleans HOUSE! She rocks. She changes her clothes into her "cleaning clothes" and goes to town. She dusts, sweeps, uses the dust pan correctly, knows how to change the trash bags properly... We all live in the same house and she is constantly exposed to adults and I am sure it has this effect on her. Good luck with your little guy; and don't worry, sounds like he is learning fine!
@bechir (13)
• Saudi Arabia
20 Feb 07
I do not think there is a specific time for that. But I believe you have to teach him all the way through; do not expect quick results, though! Children are amazing and they'll learn at their own pace.
1 person likes this