…but it’s an inkling of a start!
Ever since the girls became proficient in their mobility, I’ve involved them in cleaning up their play area. At first it was me picking up most all of the toys, and escorting the girls to the toy bin with one or two pieces during the process.
That evolved into me be being able to direct them to pick up one specific piece at a time. I could say, “Pick up the red block and put it in the bin,” and they would usually comply. That didn’t translate directly into them then picking up the blue block, and the yellow one…I would have to call those pieces out by name…often stating my direction over and over, lest they get distracted by the illustrious purple block on their way.
Eventually, I moved to telling Baby A to gather all the books, for example; and Baby B to pick up all the dolls.
Each of these stages took a lot of time, patience, and perseverance on my part, including a gazillion reminders along the way. While there were times it was tempting just to pick things up myself, I always try to allow for time to involve the girls at an age-appropriate level.
Over the past week, I’ve noticed a big change in the girls’ understanding, willingness, and attention span when it comes to cleaning up.
Often after supper they ask to play with their cars. (They still play with these ride-on / push cars that their legs have long-since outgrown…but they love them!) I’ll tell them they can play with their cars when the den is clean (which has always been the rule), and they’ll start scurrying around!
Baby A is our speedster…last night she quickly put all the building blocks into their bin, and then stacked all the books together. In the meantime, Baby B was gathering the dolls and stuffed animals. They did both of those tasks without any suggestions from me…they probably cleaned 60% of the den before I had to remind them to continue. I went over to direct them in putting away all the pieces to their kitchen (which can be a little tedious), and they did an amazing job!
I don’t mean to suggest I think I’m on Easy Street from here on out. If there’s any truth to “paying for your raising”, there will probably be quite a few arguments over the girls cleaning their rooms and doing their chores…
...but I like to think we’re establishing good habits.
And now if I can just work them up to unloading the dishwasher – the bane of my existence, remember? – I’ll have it made.