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Tidy-up Time Trauma!


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Can anyone help please! I work in a Foundation Stage Unit which is quite substantial in size and during session times is free-flow play. Because of the nature of how we work there are far fewer boundaries for the children and I wonder whether this might be why at Tidy-up Time we all end up pulling our hair out!!!! The children will do anything in their power to escape from tidying up - they will literally go and hide somewhere, or just move from room to room managing to fool us all.

 

Does anyone have any great ideas about improving this horrible time of the day???

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Hi Curlycarly

There was some discussion a while ago about tidy up time which you can find here.

We use the tidy up time song from the Holding Hands CD and book by Kinderscope. It works very well.

Linda

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well don't know if this will work for you , but what we do is this ......... at tidy up time(twice per session) the 'helper of the day' rings the bell - we have 10 different sized bells for them to choose one from (so some louder than others!) and then when they hear the bell all children have to stop what they're doing and stand completely still (a bit like musical statues) and I creep round the room looking to see who is still moving - it's a bit like a game, but they really respond to it and they all give themselves a big clap for having actually stopped!

Of course I can't say how much tidying up actually gets done afterwards though !!!!!!!!!!!

 

janice :o

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We use bribery, plain and simple. A member of staff moves around the room giving a sticker to the children she see's tidying up, while being really loud in her praise. It usually wotks really well although there are still those children who are 'really tired' or have a 'sore finger' etc. :D

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Those more reluctant :o to tidy up will often respond if you give them a 'special' job. The fact that half of them are doing a 'special' job is beside the point. :D Also, be really enthusiastic yourself and as Rea says, bribery is great! xD

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Hi there... we've all been there and there are aways one or two who it is like getting blood out of a stone for them to pick up one piece of lego ! This year we introduced a special shaker which is shaken 5 minutes before tidy time to give the children time to finish off and prepare their minds for tidying !!! Then we shake the shaker again and the children know it is then tidy time. I think some children are uncooperative at tidy time because they really want to carry on , but if their minds have had time to adjust they accept it more happily. we only have to shake the shaker now and the children chant '5 minutes' and then the next time 'Tidy time'. It has worked for us this year. Hope this helps.

 

Best wishes

Galleon :D

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Have you tried ....."I need someone who is really strong to help with........ or...... this job needs someone who is very quick..............or I need someone who can do these puzzles very quickly........or, I can't seem to put this all in the box, I would like someone who is very good at squeezing things in.... etc. It usually works because they like to think they are more able than me (not hard really!!) :o

 

Sue J

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We have used lots of different methods - each group reponds differently, but one thing we have learnt that the phrase ' tidy up time ' just sends them running around shouting the phrase without actually doing anything. This is particularly noticeable in children who attend us and another setting during the week or have attended somewhere else before coming to us. They all do this running around shouting but doing nothing. we never use the phrase.

Currently :

For the 5 miniute warning- we put on some music that we play for the five minutes when it is stopped - we then ask them to put toys away and each child is given a special job to complete, sometimes in small groups and sometimes individually. when they have completed thier task they can then choose a book to look at while waiting for everyone else to finish. too many children in one area usually means little gets done.

If we need a quick clear up we have games to see who is fastest, or can be the fastest tidier.

 

we also try ensure there is plenty of time and actually schedule it in as a learning opportunity, setting aside a set time to do it in, rather than use it as a transition time.

 

There will always be some who avoid the task, particularly if they can move freely from area to area during this time. it needs a lot of supervision and perseverence to get all to participate.

 

Also children learn by example. By the end of last year all we had to do was start to tidy away in an area that was not being used for them all to go and find a box and copy what the adults were doing. If they see the adults doing it and joining them in the task they seem more inclined to help, particularly as Sue j says they feel they can do it better than you.

 

 

Inge

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I have some children who spend tidy up time calling out at the top of their voices "TIDY UP TIME, TIDY UP TIME" without actually doing anything :o

 

So one day (after their five minutes reminder) we rang our bell, they all ( or most) stood and listened and I said "UP TIME TIDY, UP TIME TIDY"

 

It completely through them and then they said to me No, Peggy it's tidy up time, oh yes so it is silly me, shall I help you then :D

 

It only worked for a few times but their initial reactions were so funny.

 

Peggy

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We play music for about 5 minutes so they are all well aware of what they need to do. We have a 'golden box' where they put their photograph and get a sticker at the end of the day (for following the rules/being kind etc as well as helpful) As you can imagine, some children just assume that they will 'go in the golden box' each and every time they tidy up but they soon get used to the idea that you're more likely to get praise by quietly getting on with it than drawing attention to yourself LOOK AT ME MISS! i'M PUTTING MY PENCILS BACK! But there's always the exceptions to the rule who just wander off or run around telling all and sundry TIDY UP TIME!! It used to stress me out but then I visited another FS unit and they were even worse so now I feel lucky!! :( They are only 3, 4 and 5 after all(although we have some 3yr olds far more sensible at tidying up than some of the 5s! :( ) My mission at tidy up time is to start the carpet session and teach- Their mission might be to just finish this picture 'quick' xD I do feel sorry for them if they're in the middle of something really exciting and they have to stop but at least they can go back to it later and don't have the rigidity of Literacy and Numeracy hour that we used to in Reception. :o

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I have found out the trick, only taken me 25 years though. All messy play goes away by last children using it at 11.00.Then the climbing frame because this needs minimal child-help. I then call out stand still and put away what you are using. Children put toys in containers. I start circle time activity promptly with another staff member, leaving 2 others to put equipment in cupboards.

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