41. Tidying up

Getting children to tidy up isn’t just about establishing good habits – although the joy of having a child who tidies up after themselves must not be underestimated. Beyond this, it provides an excellent opportunity for children to develop organising and sorting skills as they work out where items go and which group toys belong in. Asking them to devise their own storage systems and categories for keeping toys in is a great way to get them involved, and helps them develop logical and spatial thinking. Count blocks as they go back in the box or say colours out loud as the crayons go away. Having good storage that enables them to clear away effectively is important, so invest in sturdy boxes and bowls that will last – and let them design the labels so they feel truly invested in them. Sometimes a song or a rhyme can help galvanise reluctant tidiers and can help bring playtime to an end in a positive way, without any tears. ‘Time to Tidy Up’ to the tune of Wind The Bobbin Up is an easy one that usually does the trick.