The key is to turn clean up into a fun and engaging activity for children. Usually cleaning is seen as something bad or used as punishment. Instead, make it a game. Make it into several different games even and take part in it.
Let’s start with the easy stuff. For example, there are LEGO bricks everywhere in the room. Let’s race to pick them up! Whomever picks the last LEGO brick and puts it into the storage box wins a special tasty treat! The room will be tidy in no time! You can use this type of game for the picking up of all kinds of toys and items.
Keep it simple. Don’t have a box with labels for everything. Instead use a more simplistic system with color boxes – each color is for a given type of toys. The boxes should be easily accessible to the child so she or he can learn to use it all the time.
If it is time to clean up stuffed animals, explain to the child that they will be going in for a special ride in the washing machine. Their own water park! You can also involve them in helping to fix a broken toy or a torn stuffed animal. Simply have them watch and explain to them what you are doing. Also have them help you by handing you the tape or holding the toy or even to comfort their stuffed friend.
When it is time for another clean up of the room and the toys, use variations of games. For example have a dance party or give a different reward for the race. Or even try to find a favorite toy, but the only way to win is to store all of the other toys in the proper places. Of course you can use your own imagination and creativity in order to think of other games and activities that would make cleaning more fun. You can even have your child suggest a way she or he would find fun.
Remember to always go about with a positive tone and vibe. Simpler tasks, fun and engaging activities are the keys to making clean up times fun and playful. It is also a good time to bond with your child and learn more about his or hers preferences and interests while you both accomplish something practical and useful for the house.