6 Tips for Teaching Preschoolers Clean Up

By Paula Solis Krock

Teaching our children life skills sets them on the path of becoming responsible little people and teaching them to tidy is one way to begin these life skills.

Children love to help, but are easily overwhelmed. Remember, their attention span is about as long as they are years old: 2-year-old, 2 minutes. With this in mind, begin teaching your child to tidy with these easy and practical tips:

  • Keep the task small and achievable. “Clean your room” is not small or achievable to a three-year old. “Put your Legos in the blue box,” is
  • Be consistent. If you ask them to put their dirty clothes in the hamper once, ask them to do it consistently. (Which means you do not do it.)
  • Reduce the number of items there are to clean up. Genius! Fewer items means fewer toys—have you read this book? Too Many Toys by David Shannon—read it with your child. It will change both of your lives.
  • Organize toys with bins or baskets
  • Give a 5 and then a 2 minute warning before ending play time to help in transitioning to clean up
  • Keep it positive, not punitive. You are building skills, which will benefit them for a lifetime. Keep it light and happy!



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