16 answers

My Kids Will Not Pick Up!!

Well here is my question. My kids (one 3 and 4) absolutely refuse to pick up. I have tried everything I can possibly think of and I am at my wits end. Nothing works! We have tried bribary, rewards, timeout, everything I could possibly think of. I get so frusterated because they just won't do it. Has any else had this problem? HELP?????

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

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More Answers

Pick a time (say 5:00). At that time tell your kids whatever is left out is going in a box (or somewhere they can't get it) for one week. Do this consistently and DON'T give in. They'll figure out that they want to clean up to keep their special items.

Have you tried turning it into a competition? "Who can do it fastest?" is a winner in our house for my 4 and 6 year old. :)

My kids have done the same thing. They sometimes still do. What I do that seemed to work for me is make a game out of it. I make them race to see who can pick up the most or how fast they can finish. Lately if the one I want to pick up things doesn't I ask the other to do it. After that the original child rushes over so their sibling can't do it. I also try to help them. They seem to want to do it more if I help them. Hope this helped. Good luck!

this is something i used to do to my kids its different but it worked, if they wouldnt pick up their room after playing then i would do it but that meant the next day they werent allowed to go in their rooms to play at all only to sleep at bed or nap time, i would literly ground them from their rooms,it took a few times for them to get that when i say pick up i mean it, but after a few times of this they started picking up when they were done another thing is dont let them get out more then a couple toys at a time so its not so over whelming for them to clean up! good luck!

My kids are 4 & 2. And we sing the clean up song. In the beginning, it seemed like I did most of it. Even now I sometimes get down with them and direct them.

I do think that if they're tired/hungry, it will be harder. We try to encourage pick as you go. If they get up from playing to get something else. I remind them to put toy A away first.

sometimes if it's been really bad, I go get a garbage bag and as soon as they see it, they start picking up. The first couple times I did it, I took the toys out and locked them in the trunk.

You'll still have times it's not so easy. and I remember that it won't always be perfect.

Yes, it happens. Have you tried showing them specific things that you want done and where they go? Have you tried the time game where you set a timer and see how much can get done. I know that my biggest problem is that I wanted everything in its place but, having it picked up and put in a toy box ends up better than left on the floor. We have good days and bad days when it comes to having our kids get done. The biggest thing is if you make a threat about tv, games, friends, etc., stick to your guns and don't give in no matter how much your heart is breaking!!

Wishing you the best of luck!!


I had the same problem. When i was younger my mother put everything in a garbage bag and I had to carry it up from the garage one item at a time. My brother's stuff went out the front window and he had to carry it in from outside. However, this was when we were teenagers. One rule was that no toys left the bedrooms and we cleaned up one toy before getting out the next. With my three boys I take toys away. (My choice what gets taken away.) I then out it in a box that sits somewhere where they see it regularly. When they have behaved well they are allowed to coose one toy to take out and get back. When they choose not to clean up I put a toy in the box. (Always their favorite one too.) This also helps you figure out what they no longer play with. We had a friend that got fed up and threw out all her son's toys. (Very expensive!) But it has worked for three years now, he has kept his room clean or cleaned it up when asked.

I tell my kids that I am cleaning and what is not picked up will be gone. And I mean it!! I take everything and put it in a trash bag and they go with me to the Good-will to give it away.

But also sometimes I do sit in their room and give them instructions on what to do. It really is more effective then taking toys away. We put on music and they pick up as I am in there with them!

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