As a mum, I feel it’s important to teach my two year old daughter that her mess is her responsibility. I accept that it’s not an easy thing to teach someone so small but there are little things you can do now which will help you in the long run and that they will understand. 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

‘Tidy up time’: Me and my husband say ‘tidy up time’ about five minutes before bedtime so our daughter knows to pick up the things she’s been playing with and put them in her toy box which we keep in the living room. She may need some encouragement so we do it with her, but after she sees us putting things away she likes to join in as it’s a bit of a game. This technique can be used in a toddler’s playroom, bedroom or if like us, you have a box just for toys in your living area. 

‘Put it away’: We have taught her to put things away where they belong such as smaller toys that come in a box like jigsaws and puzzles. We try to get her to put things in their home before they get placed in the larger toy box or there would be a huge mess of smaller items muddled up in the bottom.  

‘Coats off’: She now knows, through many outings that when we come home we take our coats off at the door and hang them up. While she isn’t tall enough to put her coat on the peg, she will begin to take her coat off as soon as we set foot through the door. If you have an area that is a catch all for your outdoor items, you could do the same. 

MORE: Seven ways to introduce teeth cleaning into your baby's night time routine 

Designated areas: One easy way to help your toddler to keep their toys organised is to have specific drawers or bins for certain items. For instance, my daughter has one drawer just for fluffy toys so when she plays with them, she now knows through repetition that all fluffy toys belong in there. You can apply the same logic for any other category of toy such as wooden toys, plastic toys or dress up clothes. A place for everything and everything in its place. 

Putting the dishes away: My toddler showed a real interest in the dishwasher one day and began to take plates out and hand them to me. So I make a big deal of it and now she helps me to empty it on a daily basis. I always take the cutlery basket out first as there are sharp things in there, but she likes to help with plates, bowls and cups. I make a big fuss with each one she hands me so she knows how much I appreciate her help. This positive reinforcement really spurs her on to complete the task. Again, you could apply this to washing up and putting the dishes away or getting your toddler to help wash them at the sink. 

‘Put it in the bin’: Whenever we give her something to eat that comes in a packet, we always ask her to go and put it in the bin. Another task that feels like a game to her but teaches her a valuable lesson- trash goes in the bin and doesn’t get left on the floor or on another surface. Be careful with this one however- if they get too enthusiastic about the exercise you might find things in there that aren’t actually rubbish! 

‘Put the shopping away’: Although they might not put your groceries away exactly as you would like them to- if you ask your toddler to put something in a certain cupboard they will- you may just have to go back afterwards and set it to how you want it to be. The point is, if you ask your toddler to put something in a specific place and they do, they have done what you asked them to do which deserves praise and thanks.

MORE: Seven reasons why pasta is a great food choice for toddlers

As a busy mum with a constantly hungry toddler, I always find myself going back to pasta time and time again as a staple meal for her. So I thought I would share my reasons why it’s such a great food to have in your cupboard when you have a little one… to read more click HERE 

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