Cleaning up the play room almost always is a struggle for us. The girls can make huge messes in a matter of minutes but don't seem to see the need to clean up the mess.
I know this is so common in many households. Who wants to clean anyway? I'd rather not clean. I hate cleaning most days. For some reason the mess never goes away.
Even though I hate cleaning, I don't want to teach my kids that someone else is going to pick up their mess. It is so important for them to learn responsibility for their own things.
To instill this I have come up with a few ideas and found a few on Pinterest and came up with our cleaning up routine.
The first thing I did was taking pictures of different toy groupings. I have Barbies, stuffed animals, colored pencils and coloring books, books and several more.
I printed those pictures on then cut them out and glued them on to Popsicle sticks.
The girls can then pick out what they are going to clean up. Each child gets one to start and when they are done they pick another until they are gone and the toys are all cleaned up.
Each Popsicle stick earns them one ticket. The tickets can be used to purchase items from my store or traded for a quarter and put in their spending jar.
They love shopping in the store. Most items are four tickets and are Dollar Store purchases.
I still have to keep encouraging them but with a promise of a reward they are much more inclined to help.
I know some out there might not agree with a reward system but I encourage you to think about this: when you go to work what do you receive? A paycheck. The chores you reward at 3 years will probably not be rewarded at 12 but you are starting to develop a work ethic in your children that will continue to grow. If you didn't receive a paycheck would you continue to show up everyday and do your work? I'm sure the answer is no.
As your children grow the chores and rewards will change. There are things around the house that my kids will do without rewards. As a parent you can decide what is worth rewarding and what isn't. Cleaning up toys is the hardest chore to get them to do so it makes sense to reward that job. Making beds and wiping down the kitchen table are things they want to do so they need no external reward.
Just think about what you want your children to look at 18 as they move out and on their own. What do you want to teach them before then?