Mommy Slave Driver?

Landon's Pad

Ever step on a toy and curse the heavens because you think you might die? Yeah, with a 7 year old dog, I have stepped on so many bones and toys over the years, I am amazed my feet don’t look like a fight with a razor blade. But he is a dog…he doesn’t know where to put stuff. So when this kid came along, we needed a change.  So here goes:

We make our kid clean up his own toys.

Yup.  He is 2.5 and he is expected to pick up his toys before things like dinner, he can watch TV, bedtime, etc. If he starts to get another big set of toys out with others strewn about, he is told he can’t until the others are picked up.  Yeah it isn’t perfect. Sometimes I get the “NO” and run away move but ya know what, he can’t get what he wants until he does it.  So 99% of the time he does it. Sometimes he whines through the whole thing.  Whatever.  Welcome to life, kid.

Kevin and I hate clutter.  Setting the house up for showing hasn’t been the nightmare people made it out to be. We already put things away. We don’t leave dishes in the sink. The counters are wiped down every night. But we have found with selling the house, it takes us maybe 10 extra minutes in the morning and maybe 10 at night to make it look the same.  We are amazed we didn’t do some of this stuff before now.  Our weekend cleaning routine has been cut way down because we do little things all the time.

Welcome to Sodor

Naturally, we want to teach this skill.  Fortunately, daycare helps us out here.  They teach the kids to pick up their toys.  They even have a song (or I assume they do…my kid is singing one at home). They are very self sufficient.  They wash their hands, help serve food, put their dishes away, wipe tables and take turns. I LOVE IT. At home he is now tall enough to reach the water and soap in the bathroom on his own, he gets his own bib, silverware, plate, etc. If he spills juice in the kitchen, he asks for a towel. He often request napkins at dinner multiple times.

So I don’t think it is ridiculous that he is required to put things away.  It has definitely helped us with getting the house ready but I hope it is teaching a life skill. Legos go in the lego bin. The train set is in the hall closet. Crayons are in a drawer in the kitchen. Trains in the Thomas lunchbox. Everything in its place. It is reliable.  When he asks for his Lightning McQueen to sleep with…we know where it is.

Maybe I am a slave driver and/or maybe it will all fall apart in 6 months. Whatever.  It is how we run our household and I am not backing down.  Especially sincel I can still manhandle him.

For more info on our toy storage, check out my storage post.


  1. I love this! We do the same thing with our little guy. He is expected to tidy his toys, he even prefers his toys cleaned up. He won’t go to bed with his car mat and Hot Wheels on the floor in his room. If I leave his train tracks set up at night, when he comes downstairs in the morning, there is a big “Mommy, what a mess!” reaction to the toy still being out.
    I strongly believe in kids being self sufficient, and responsible for their own things. I think they appreciate what they have more, and they need to know how to do things for them self. He helps set the table for dinner, and he helps put his clean laundry away.
    Of course he isn’t perfect all the time, but most of the time he follows suite. It’s routine now. And with a 4.5mo, this is even more important. When I am busy with her, he can easily find his toys and isn’t screaming for me to find it for him. He knows exactly where that particular Hot Wheel is because he put it away.

  2. I completely agree with what you are doing. We are doing it with our (almost) 3 yr old. He has to clean up at school and home should not be an exception. If he gets it out, he is expected to clean it up. Some days he does it happily, singing his clean up song. Some days it sounds as if someone is beating him because of all the screaming and crying he is doing. But I just ignore it. That’s life kiddo.

  3. Again, he is definitely genetically predisposed to being tidy, but it is pretty impressive to watch him do his adorable OCD thang. I think it’s pretty awesome. Good tips all around! (think it would work with Uncle Jeff? Mom could use some pointers.)

  4. I am the same way. Often times we will help her but cleaning up her toys is a requirement if she wants to continue to play with her toys. Maddie sings some “tidy up” song and she thinks cleaning up is a game and I’m all for it!

  5. Also I should note that Maddie has inherited my OCD ways. She knows which bins each toy goes in and if you put toys in the wrong bins she knows AND corrects you. I’m already saving up money for the therapy bills she’ll have later because her mom turned her into a neat freak before she even turned 3 years old.

  6. I made the mistake of just cleaning up after my oldest. Now at 3 1/2 its a struggle almost every day to get him to clean up after himself. But Im determined to stay strong and true to my word. He WILL clean up before nap time and dinner. Im even making my 17 month old help a little bit. He is still at the stage where he likes to clean though.

  7. I like you force Brady to pick up his toys. We don’t move on to something else unless stuff is picked up. I will do some straightening myself at night and our toy room gets messy at times but I am pretty big on teaching Brady to pick up his own stuff! Good life lesson right?

  8. We do the same and require D to put away one set of toys before getting out others and put away his trains at bedtime. It helps because he does the bulk of his playing in the kitchen due to how our house is laid out, and the kitchen came become cluttered so quickly. If I’m not careful, my klutzy self is tripping on a train or stuffed animal and that’s not cool when I’m trying to cook.

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