One thing you can do as a parent is to provide a place for all your child’s belongings designed for them to be able to use at the earliest of ages. Plain baskets work great for toys. Don’t worry too much if your two year old doesn’t manage to get the right toys in the right basket.
Delayed gratification should start early with simple statements such as,” After we pick up our toys and put our play clothes away we can go play in the backyard or have some fruit.”
Praise is better than scolding or time outs, though sometimes these things are required, children adore praise and tend to acquire a healthy attitude towards picking up after themselves, helping with household chores and keeping good grooming habits with praise rather than repercussions.
Avoid rewarding good habits for bad ones, even though it’s tempting to turn a cookie or ice cream into a reward, the gratification should come in a job well done, in and of itself.
Be organized yourself. You can’t quite expect to reap what you don’t sow. If you want children to be tidy you must be tidy yourself.
It’s a good idea not to let your child take too many play things out at one time as putting them all back can be overwhelming for the both of you. This doesn’t mean only allowing your child one toy at a time to play with, children need plenty of stimulation and playing with more than one toy at once gives them a chance to use their imaginations, figure out how objects can be combined and just have a joyful play time. On the other hand, a room can become so cluttered with toys that the child can be just as overwhelmed with the chaos as you might likely be. This can lead to frustration and even temper tantrums.
Just as adults deal better with a regular schedule for activities so children do. There is a time for everything under the sun, a time to take a bath and play with toys and put them in the drainable toy bucket when done. A time for quality television programs, a time for reading, a time for being read to, and a time for helping mommy or daddy sweep the patio.
One of the best gifts you can give yourself and your children is the gift of organization, not for the sake of having a clean and perfect home but for the sake of a relaxed lifestyle, clear thinking, and self gratification in knowing that being organized makes life easier.
One last tip- recycle your children’s toy by donating or passing on to friends what they have out grown or have multiples sets of. Children between the ages of one and five are generally over indulged by loving parents, relatives and friends. It’s best to pass out those belongings rather than ‘pass out’ from having to find room for everything. Teach your children philanthropic values now and they will likely grow to be generous throughout their lifetimes.