It’s no secret that toddlers are messy little things, but it’s never too soon to start teaching them to tidy up their toys.
Let them help (even if it doesn’t help)
Toddlers love to be doing what mummy and daddy are doing, even the cleaning up. The problem is, they tend not to be very good at it and can actually slow the cleaning down.
It’s very tempting to direct their attention to something else while you get the job done, but you’re setting a bad precedent. If you get into the habit of doing everything yourself it will be hard to change that.
Make sure tidying is a thing that everyone does, and is an important part of the playtime routine. Your toddler will feel proud of helping and being part of the action, and will want to help you more often.
Give clear simple instructions
 ‘Tidy’ is too vague for little kids to know what to do with. Even with bigger kids it helps to be specific about what needs to be done.
It makes the division between tidy and not tidy much more obvious when you say “put all the Lego into this box” or “Let’s get all the dolls back into their house”.
Make it fun
Cleaning up shouldn’t be a big serious thing that ends the fun playtime, make it an extension of the playing. You could have a special cleaning song that you sing together while putting toys away. Or your kids could race each other to see who can do their section faster. Just keep it light-hearted.
Everything should have its place
Young children strongly identify with their toys, so it will help for them to have ‘home’ that they are happy with. For instance, for Lego you can buy a storage box that looks like a giant Lego brick, or dolls can have a pretty box where they can be tucked up under a blanket.
With this you can make tidying part of the bedtime routine – the toys are being put to bed, just like your toddler.