Advice from Preschool Teachers

"My son wont put his toys away when I ask."

  • Create a kid-friendly environment. The child-size chairs, shelves, and coatracks at preschools make kids feel more confident about doing things for themselves, says Suzette Burdett, codirector of the Village Preschool Center, in New York City. At home, move your child's everyday clothes to the lower dresser drawers, and put coat hooks within easy reach. Also make jackets easier to hang by sewing a large fabric ring to the inside.
  • Get smart about storage. Purchase inexpensive containers, and have him draw pictures of the specific items (such as books, stuffed animals, and puzzles) that go in each. Use these as labels.
  • Whistle while you work. Turn cleanup chores into a fun activity by singing songs with your child as he puts his things away.
  • Give him an incentive. Make a colorful chart listing tasks for your child to complete each day. As soon as he finishes an assignment, give him a sticker and show him where to put it. Then he'll be more willing to move on to the next chore.

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