A few weeks ago I mentioned how we’d begun introducing the idea of responsibility to our toddler.
We definitely experienced a few bumps along the way, but for the most part we’re doing all right.
It’s going well enough that we’ve decided to give our 2.5-year-old a new responsibility:
Cleaning Up After Himself
This is a BIG one.
He is very good at creating messes.
Smashing toy block towers, spreading cars all over the floor, dumping books off the bookshelf.
He is a first class, grade A mess creator.
And I have no interest in being the mess creator’s cleaning crew.
So we decided to start by getting him to tidy his bookshelf.
We made a new rule: We need to put books back on the shelf when we are done reading them. We can’t start reading a new story until the last one is back on the shelf.
To enforce this new rule we used a when/then statement (I looooove these).
“When your book is back on the shelf then I’ll know you’re ready for the next story.”
He got angry a few times in the beginning.
When this happened, we stayed firm but kept it friendly by saying something like, “I see you’re not ready for the next story. Come see me when you’re ready.”
Then we’d leave the room.
It wouldn’t be long before he’d tidy his bookshelf and run down the hall calling after us, “Mommy! Daddy! I’m ready!”
Now it is just part of our routine.
- Hand dad the book
- Up on dad’s lap
- Read story
- Hop down, swap book for a new one
When we moved on to having him clean up his messes and spills after meals, well, that’s another story.
Stay tuned. 🙂
UPDATE: Ready for a good FAIL story? Check out Cleaning Up Spills: Part One (The Disaster)
Image Credit: a.pasquier