Saturday, May 27, 2006

Clean Up

At one of Ian's toddler classes, I noticed something phenomenal. At the end of every class, the teacher sang a song, with the children and their parents joining in once they recognized its tune.

Clean up, clean up,
Everybody, everywhere.
Clean up, clean up,
Everybody do their share.

Some of the older children actually began picking up the toys! Wow, I thought, toddlers cleaning up after themselves, I have to do this. Beginning that very night, we (we meaning Paul and I) began to sing that very same song and picking up all the toys throughout the house. At that stage of the game, Ian was about 14 months old. He would follow us around and pretty much watch us clean up. His idea of helping was to pick up a toy and play with it.

I knew consistency was key. We kept going through the same motions and it wasn't long before Ian caught on to the rules of the game. At first, he would bring us objects we asked for. "Ian, get the ball, please." He would toddle over to the ball, pick it up, toddle back to us, of course dropping the ball along the way, pick it up again, and finally toddle it over to us and successfully hand it over.

Then Ian started bringing us objects without being told. Enormous amounts of clapping and cheering ensured this continued. He happily kept bringing more and more toys just for the attention. At some point, we also started giving Ian a five minute warning as to when clean up would begin. It helped him mentally prepare to end play time and get ready for the transition.

Now, when Ian hears the Clean Up song, he sings what he can, and races to the living room where his huge collection of vehicles resides. Without even Paul or I being in the same room, he begins to put his toys away. Of course this thrills us to no end, but what really makes us smile is when he sweetly states, "Night, night, train. Night, night, bulldozer. Night, night, __________," as he puts each vehicle into the trundle. How cute is that! Each toy gets to be put in "bed" by its loving owner.


carrie said...

Too funny! Our boys (7 & 9) still clean up singing this song. They like to blame it on their sis (2), but I have a feeling that they'd be humming it even if whe wasn't around!

They made up a second verse too: "Clean up a little, clean up a lot. Everybody do your share to clean up your spot"! I don't know if that came from preschool, I can't remember, but it is super-cheesy! :)

Your son is super-cute!

Stella said...

I used to *LOVE* that song because it actually worked! Maddie used to hop up and help pick up all her toys and junk.

Now that she's 13, she is only inspired by money to help pick up!

Jennifer said...

I've heard Barney credited with the song, though don't know if that is a true origin. At our house, we still thank our day care teachers....what on earth would our children be capable of without them? From them Kyra learned not only how to clean up, but also how to spell her name, recognize her letters, tell her right from her left, etc.--and now Lucas is learning all of the same. I feel forever grateful for their influence!

Peter said...

The clean up song worked but when you need more fire power The Toy Fairy is where it is at. Check out this post for help cleaning up the toys.