Cleaning up!

Cleaning up? How dare you! I think cleaning up is one of my most requested parent wishes when I get new students.  It’s very typical at this age (3 years old), to see tantrums when it’s time to clean up and transition from play.  My biggest tips are (1) start using a visual timer and warning your students ahead of time.  At first, they will have no idea what it is and may not even pay attention to it but just keep being consistent.  Once the timer goes off you can verbally say and prompt, “Timer went off, time to clean up” and you can even sing a clean-up song.  (2) Hand over hand cleaning up.  Picture this, time to clean up and your student might scream no, exit the area, throw the toys, flop on the floor, etc.  Ignore the behavior and just keep saying, “put away, clean up” and hand over hand have them put toys into a bin or on a shelf.  If the student has run away from the center, I will actually bring toys over to them and hand over hand have them put at least some pieces away, ignoring the escape behavior.  (3) Positive praise.  When they do clean up or even if you have to hand over hand prompt and then slowly move your hand back, give them positive praise! That’s hard for them! Keep at it, I PROMISE it works! The tantrums might even get a little worse before they get better but stick with it.  Sometimes having your peer models help them will encourage them to clean up!

Happy Center-ing!


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