Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Great Toy Experiment of 2008

Saturday night was stressful around here. The girls had every single toy on their bedroom floor--or on the livingroom floor.

After spending at least 45 minutes trying to get them to start picking things up, I told them that when the timer goes off in 15 minutes, anything that was still out was MINE!

(I did this a few weeks ago and about 25% of their toys went into time-out. They earned them back by picking up things that were left out over the next few days.)

The timer went off and nothing, I mean NOTHING had been done. I was right there with them for the entire 15 minutes and short of me putting a toy in their hand and leading them to the toybox, nothing was working. In fact, that really didn't work either because I couldn't get up and walk for them.

It was turning into a test of wills.

So, anyway, the timer went off. I started dragging the toy box into their closet then tossing everything on top of it. Now they wanted to help! They thought it was fun to toss toys into the toybox that was now in a different spot. I took everything except the stuffed animals on their beds and the books that were on the shelf.

Now it's Tuesday. They've spent a lot of time coloring, making "caves" with blankets draped over the bunkbeds, playing with the stuffed animals, reading books, and making their own fun. They haven't fought any less, but they haven't fought more either.

Know what? I don't think they really miss the toys at all. Sure, they played with them when they could go from one to the next, scattering pieces and parts along the way.....but overall, I don't think they care.

Pretty soon I'm going to have to deal with the toys in the closet. I can't get in there to find their shoes, or get any of their drawers open. I'm not ready to toss all the toys completely.

What would you do?


Between the Trees said...

That is excellent. I would definitely use the opportunity to get rid of toys *you* don't want to keep. I've also heard of putting toys in time out on shelves where they can *see* them. Just wait though! They'll start toy begging and depending on how long it takes 'em, you have a whole bunch of *new* toys you can present to them!!

Anonymous said...

Toss the electronic toys. Put the rest in the garage. Wait a month. Then put them on monthly rotations two to four toys at a time. They always stay new and with the lack of electronic toys, there is no extranious noise

Cyndi Lewis said...

Hi Dana,
I suggest having your DH take the girls out to McDonalds or somewhere for a couple of hours while you go through everything. Make piles: garbage, donate, garage sale, keep but store (so you can rotate toys), toys to stay in the room. Less is more! Kids will become more creative with less. I think you did the right thing in taking toys away. If the girls can't pick up, they don't get the priviledge of toys. I fight this battle too. Be diligent and they will eventually get into the groove. It also helps when they get a bit older. My kids (while not perfect) have gotten much better with picking up since I stay on top of it (daily). They just know that making a big mess isn't a good idea because Mom will stick to her guns and make them pick it up. They know that dragging their feet on it just makes them lose play time. I supervise but each day I pick up less and less. Make sure to get the support of your husband in this matter too. My kids have a bigger fear/respect for their father and they do not want me going to him for back up. Sorry for the length! God go with you!