Saturday, September 27, 2008

Toy Jail

Every mom has things her kids do that drive her crazy. This is mine. All the toys taken out and strewn across the room. As soon as they tire of one, they take out another until James says to me increduosly, "there is no room to play in here Mommy. This place is such a mess." It drives me mad.
This, of course, leads to the next part of the trial: cleaning up. I am sure the sheer volume of toys makes the idea of cleaning up quite daunting. That is why they resist it so vehemtly. And that is why I go crazy every time they do this.

Enter toy jail. Sometimes we get our best ideas from our moments of greatest desperation. (Allright, I know that sounds a little dramatic, but really, after a day of having this battle with them over and over, I had had enough.) I stepped into their room, surveyed the mess and declared, "if you guys do not clean this up, you are losing every toy that is out." I don't think they believed me. They sort of started to clean up, but quickly got distracted by some toy or another and began to play again. I quietly cleaned up all the toys and piled them into one corner of the room.

"Look at this guys," I told them, in my calm voice. "All these toys are going into toy jail." I stacked all the toys in the crib, making the visual of jail that much better with the rails and all. The boys stood looking at them quietly.

"When you play with toys and don't pick them up, they go to toy jail. If you take toys out and put them away like you are supposed to you may pick out a toy and rescue it from toy jail."
Still quiet, they stood looking at the massive pile of toys in the crib. I am a genius!
Then James says, "It's OK mommy, we still have lots of other toys to play with."

I can't win. I guess the real lesson here is that my kids have WAY too many toys.


Justin and Erin McDonald said...

I am so sorry that Toy Jail didn't work. Maybe they will have to go to toy jail if they don't pick up their toys. Yeah like they can only play with the toys in the jail untill they learn to put them away, kind of like real jail you can have visitors! Well I think you had a great idea and maybe they might get it some day but then again they are boys and they do have a lot of toys. I know you only buy nice toys but maybe you could also try the method of if you don't take care of your toys we will have to give them to kids that will take care of them and donate them to your church or something like that! It might hit home! Well and then there is always just let them play in a huge pile of toys till there is no more room to play! HAHA Good Luck!

Mommy of three said...

Actually, Toy Jail is working. Every day before nap time and before bed they clean up all there toys with me telling them only once to do it! Oh glorious day! In fact, last night we had a babysitter with them and as they were getting into bed, she said they both got all upset and said, "oh no, we didn't pick up our toys and now we can't get one out of toy jail tomorrow." Another added benefit of toy jail ahs been the excitement of picking one and only one toy out of jail. They are so excited about it, it's as if they have all new toys. So far, it is turning out to be a good thing. Let's see how long it lasts. Now if we could only get William to stay in his bed...................

Annie said...

I might just have to try Toy Jail!