The Mom Connection

I am teaming up this week with Naptime Review and Two in Diapers for this exciting NEW series about motherhood.

We are always wondering how other moms handle certain issues or dilemmas,
so each week we are going to tackle the questions of motherhood.

Next week we will discuss
Siblings and sharing: Where do you draw the line between requiring sharing and allowing for personal space with certain toys?

If you have some thoughts or advice on next week's topic please email
We would love for you to be part of The Mom Connection!

 Now on to this week's topic!
How do you get your children to clean up and pick up thier toys? 

Here is what a few of us had to say:

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Welcome! I'm Julie
over at Naptime Review. I am a mom of 2 wild, crazy and beautiful girls. My oldest is almost 4 and my baby just turned 1. This is how I handle cleaning up with my kiddos:

I am really looking forward to hearing all the other comments and tips. I really struggle with this issue and I constantly feel like a drill sergeant with my oldest daughter. I have a Type A personality and I am OCD when it comes to cleaning and messes. I really think God blessed me with free spirited, creative and MESSY girls to teach me a lesson.

Here are some tips that have helped me alleviate the craziness that clutter brings. I only clean my daughter's room on Sunday. I try not to let the mess that fills the room the minute after “we” pick up her toys consume me. I also purchased large organization tubs at Target. I just toss everything in and wheel into her closet and shut the door. We also pick up our toys in the playroom every night before bed. If she is stalling, which she does, I set a timer.  If her toys aren't picked up when the timer goes off, she loses TV after bath. Thankfully, the timer seems to motivate her.

 I also constantly remind my oldest that God gives us things and it's our responsibility to take care of them. I am trying to teach her appreciation for all the blessings in her life. So far, it seems to be in one ear and out the other, but that's why I have 2 children right? All I have to do is sing the "clean up" song and the baby puts toys away... for now. I am trying to train her young!

So what works for us is to not "stress the mess" and to purchase organizational tubs!

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Hi! I'm Cassie
from Two In Diapers, and I'm a mommy to three sweet babies, ages 4, 3, and 18 months.

 Getting the kids to clean up toys is actually a very recent topic of concern for me. In 2008, I gave birth to a beautiful little baby girl named Emily, and then our lives turned into a whirlwind of activity that included two more babies and before I knew it, four years later, I was grudgingly cleaning up roomfuls of toys during nap time while wistfully daydreaming about sitting on the couch reading a novel. One day my mom snapped me back to reality by pointing out that my littles were well old enough to be cleaning up after themselves. Oh yeah, that one thing I'm supposed to be teaching them.

My first method of getting the kids to clean up included some yelling, a bit of bribing and lots of threatening. Fail. This left me with a messy house, three cranky kids and lots of frustration.

I decided it was time to get creative. Lately we've been finding many more ways to clean up that are much more fun and exciting. For example, when cleaning up the blocks, we pick them up by color. I let the kids pick which colors in what order. First, we might put all of the red blocks into the basket, then the yellow and so on. Sometimes I let them each pick a type of toy to be responsible for - such as Emily picking up the books and Bentley picking up the toy cars. One of our very favorites, however, is pulling out each basket in our family room and lining them up in the middle of the floor. We then pick up each toy and try to toss it into the correct basket. This usually results in lots of giggles, but you can bet the toys get cleaned up!

One last thing, I have to say on this topic is that the more organized your play area is, the better. Our small toy area is very organized {you can view it here}. There is one clearly-marked basket for each type of toy, and one basket for miscellaneous toys. Everything has a home. The more confusing and chaotic a toy space is, the more overwhelming it is for kids {and parents!} to clean up.

So I supposed my advice is - get organized and have fun!

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My name is Casey Wiegand and I blog over at CaseyLeigh.  I am the mama of three kids. Aiden (3), Ainsleigh (2) and Apple (2 months).

Even though I am an artist and free spirit...I like things to be organized, clean and in some type of order. The most helpful thing to control the "mess" with the kiddos is shelves with baskets for all of the toys. That way they can play all day and at the end of each day my two toddlers know that we put everything back into the baskets. It gives a bit of "system" to the chaos.

Another thing that helped was putting all of the toys in our family room/office. Taking the toys out of their bedrooms and putting them all in one spot with the basket system has been amazing for our family organization.

Lastly, I love having a family calendar and a meal plan calendar. I like to be able to hand write on them both and keep them on my work desk. Both of these help me immensely!

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Hello! My name is Diana from Nanny2Mommy. I was a nanny for five years (thus the name) before I became a mom. During that time when it was just their older son, I would clean up after him and never encourage him to clean. I didn't because it was a job that I got paid to do it. 

When their daughter was born and as she got older, I was out numbered and needed help with the disasters they created. So I encouraged them to help me clean up. The older one was so used to me doing everything that he just wouldn't help. I had to say things like, "Oh your baby sister is doing such a good job cleaning up, could you help her?" or "Let's see who can clean up the most" or "the fastest" etc. Cleaning eventually became a part of his routine. 

My suggestion? Get them started early where they are used to it and it is just habit. My daughter knows what to do when I say let's clean up now and, although I have to go behind her, I feel I am setting her up for good habits in the future. And she likes it because we try to make it a game. She is even learning how to organize her toys now as well.

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Hello! My name is Janine
and I blog over at True Aim. I am a Mother of 3 under the age of 5. I also have a Home Preschool and teach 3 other children.

Here are 3 techniques that I use to get my little ones to clean up their toys.

1. A Manageable Mess: Once a mess becomes too large, no one wants to clean it, including me. So, I have all of our toys and books divided up into containers. The rule is that each child may play with one container at a time. When they are done, they must put everything back before moving on to the next container. This method is great because at no point is the mess so large that it is unmanageable and our house is always moderately clean – just in case the neighbors pop in! 

2: Off to the Races! Often, my kids would drag the cleaning of large messes out all day. As long as I was watching they would clean, but the moment I left they would lose focus and begin playing. Also, they all cleaned at a snail's pass, hoping that if they waited it out, one of their sibling would eventually finish the job without them. That is why, instead of "cleaning a mess," we head "off to the races!" I set a timer and give everyone an area to clean up. Whoever cleans up their mess first wins the race

3: Repossession or Reward? When my children forget to put away their toys, I simply repossess them. Once a toy is repossessed, my children must buy it back with Popsicle sticks or by doing an extra chore. On the other hand, if they do keep their toys tidy, I reward them with Popsicle sticks or an occasional treat!

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Hi my name's Rachel from the blog, Lines Across. I am a mom of two kids, Benjamin (3) and Lyla (23 months). You can follow me on Facebook here.

As a crafty person living in a small house with two young kids, two cats, and a husband, it's definitely a struggle to keep things clean. I almost always have some sort of project out on a desk or tabletop. In fact, right now, I have a handful of balloons hanging from the shutters in our kitchen.

That being said, I think that it is so important to help teach your kids to clean up and be organized. We have made a point of keeping the kids' rooms clean and organized, and we want them to be a part of it. For me, the most important part of this is having good storage for toys. We got these bins from IKEA, and we love them. Every toy has a place in one of these colorful bins. My son, Benjamin, knows what toys go where, and he always wants to make sure that everything is in the right place.

We try to encourage him to clean up the toys he was playing with before he moves on to another room or another activity, but sometimes we are in a hurry or forget to remind Benjamin. That's why we have made clean-up time a consistent part of bedtime... after brushing teeth and right before we curl up and read a book together. It works well because my little 3 year old is of course looking for ways to stall going to bed and is always happy to help clean up his toys. Sometimes we even come up with games like lego basketball, color sorting, counting, or a reenactment of an episode of Thomas. Even though our house is never perfect, and there is always some chore that needs to be done, it feels so good to tuck my kids in at night in clean and organized rooms.

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Your Turn:

 How do YOU get YOUR children to clean up?
Do you have any tips or advice?
Love to hear from you!

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  1. Hi! I'm a new follower from the hop! :)

    Jen @
    The Adventures of our Army Life

  2. Great tips! I really enjoyed reading this article.

    Jessica @

  3. generally I sing the clean up song. I did read a post today about a treasure hunt cleanup...complete with hidden clues and everything....Sounds great for kids who can read!blessings from your new follower Nicole

  4. It's me, Vickilicious, from The Greek Housewife and I followed you back!. BTW, great post!

  5. Hi I am also a new follower from the blog hop. I have two year old twins who are learning to help pick up and do chores now as well. I use the good 'ole bribery trick. That and a lot of praise and try to make picking up fun. While I have been potty training, we use "bean-beans" (jelly beans) to reward the twins when they have used to potty or helped pick up their toys. It has worked wonders, and now they are starting to help out when asked. Sometimes they don't even ask for the candy, just being told that they are good girls and mommy's helpers is enough.

  6. Ditto the following/hop thing. :)

    I'm glad to see the tips on room cleaning because the toys are starting to drive me bonkers. Like one of the tips above, I bought the big, colorful mud buckets and we toss everything in those...but that just means a bigger bucket to dump. Ugh. Sometimes I forget what color his carpet is.

    We split his toys in half too... half in the garage and half in his room, and then every so often we trade them out. He gets a kick on trade-out day. It's like having all new toys again.

  7. Hi there! I am a new follower from the GFC hop. I will be looking forward to your blog! :)I love your blog!



Thank you for dropping by! I would love to hear what you thought. :)