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28th Aug 2021

This is how Montessori teachers get kids to tidy toys and it could work for you too

Melissa Carton

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Having two kids, when it comes to getting them to keep their rooms tidy the struggle is real.

Then we’ve got the sitting room, kitchen and garden to contend with.

Montessori teachers have a foolproof formula for getting the children in their care to tidy up, and I’m intrigued.


If like myself you’re struggling to get your kids to pick up after themselves, these tips might just work for you too. According to Montessori teacher Christina Clemer, getting kids involved with tidying up isn’t impossible.

1. Create a place for everything

Believe it or not, young children naturally, have a sense of order and part of the reason why they have trouble cleaning up is that putting things away haphazard overwhelms them. Create a place for everything to go and stick to routinely putting them back there and your child will soon follow suit.

2. Make expectations clear

Stay consistent. If all the toys have to be tidied away before bed one night, make sure that it’s every night. Children thrive in a stable routine and will happily take part in anything they see as being their day-to-day schedule.

3. Frame it in a positive way

Don’t make tiding a punishment, turn it into an incentive. Keep treat time until after their toys have been tidied so that they associate helpful behaviour with rewards.

4. Wait for a natural break

Let them finish what they’re doing, be it colouring, playing a game or building blocks before you ask them to tidy up. Our children are learning important skills while they play. so think of it like someone interrupting you in work or while you’re taking a test.  If you give them time to finish what they’re doing first they will be more ready and willing to help.

What do you think? Will you give this a try?