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Toy Rotation and Pick-up

By Susan Tracy McDaniel

At first, the adult picks up everything.

Ideally, the child watches as the adult cleans up. Try not to look as though you are suffering!



Child imitates, and picks up a few toys. Thank them!

Child cleans up as they finish an activity, before moving on to the next.

Enforce using “When-then”(Discipline Toolkit tool #13)

Ideal, never 100%, the child cleans up independently.


It is the adult’s responsibility to provide a manageable number of toys, each with a specific location for storage, perhaps a shelf, basket, tray, box, or bag. If you have never been one for “A place for everything and everything in its place”, now is the time! You must learn this for the good of your child.

Put two-thirds of your family’s toys in storage, out of the child’s reach. The toys should not be reachable or visible to the child, but you should be able to grab a toy quickly when your child isn’t looking. If they haven’t seen a toy for a few weeks or months, it’s like brand new! This is how you can take a shower or make a phone call in relative peace.

Sort through toys and get rid of some. If a toy is broken, missing pieces, or dangerous, throw it out. If its appearance or sound is unattractive, donate it. If it’s outgrown and your child no longer uses it with concentration, give it to or save it for a younger child. If it inspires loud or violent behavior, get rid of it (the television?).

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