How to motivate your preschool students to tidy up after each activity

By Erika Rivera 4 March 2022

It’s easy to fall behind on your lesson plans when you have children who hesitate to tidy up their play area and put away toys when it’s time to prepare for the following activities.

Therefore, to avoid delaying the lessons you have planned for the rest of the day, it’s important to implement strategies that will motivate the kids to obey your cleaning requests so that it’s easy to transition from one activity to the next.

Below are five effective ways to ease clean-up time and encourage the kids to organize the classroom.

Implement praise in your classroom

Utilizing praise in the classroom provides children with understanding. When kids receive merit for their proper behavior, it teaches them that they are doing the right thing. Sometimes all it takes for children to obey your requests is to cheer their good behavior, so they could know that specific actions reap praise and have positive outcomes. Once you begin implementing praise in your classroom, you’ll learn that other children will mimic the positive behavior to deserve kudos from their teacher.

Make a counting game out of cleaning

Making a game out of clean-up time is more than enough motivation for the kids to tidy up the classroom. Have the kids stop what they are doing and invite each child to put a desired amount of toys back on the shelf. For example, have Sussie collect three first and then ask Joe to put away four. Sometimes the thought of cleaning is like the conclusion of fun, which makes children hesitate. Kids are more likely to participate when cleaning doesn’t feel like cleaning. Engaging with the kids in this manner also makes great footage for parents to witness, so make sure you record them through Child Journal to keep parents connected.

Play a clean-up song

A clean-up song is a great way to communicate to children about classroom expectations. Children are more likely to begin cleaning without you encouraging them to organize because they look at the task as an opportunity to continue moving their bodies and use their infinite energy.

Offer a reward

Offering children a reward is an effective way to get them more moved to obey your cleaning requests because it gives them something to look forward to. You could offer them a special toy that is rarely used or only brought out on special occasions and even provide them with a sneak peek of it to get them excited and ready to wrap up. Special incentives never fail to do the trick.

Set a timer and make cleaning a race

Another way to motivate the kids to clean up their areas is to compete with the timer. Encourage the kids to clean as fast as they can before the timer goes off and watch how they speed up to beat the timer. Competition activities are very intriguing to children. They’re a great way to expedite clean-up time, especially when you’re trying to move forward to more vital tasks to their learning.