I spent the better part of the Christmas holidays overhauling the playroom. I moved all the toddler and preschooler toys closer to the bottom of the staircase leading from the kitchen so I could keep an eye on Mary from there. I moved an old couch and armchair into the basement and set up a craft table and shelves for Lego and sports cards and board games. I sorted and sifted. I even purged a little.
We kept it up fairly well for a little while. Until last week.
My kids most favourite way to play is to pull out ALL OF THE TOYS and spend hours setting them up just so. All of the play food in the play kitchen is okay, but you know what’s even better? Making a salad out of Monopoly money and broken crayons and Lego heads and game pieces! So this right here was just them getting set up. “We can’t clean up! We haven’t even played yet! Tomorrow! We promise!” they sang out in unison. Or something like that.
Before I knew it an entire week had passed and the playroom had been left for dead because even the kids can’t handle the filth and they’ve settled in to take over the main floor as well.
Parents, don’t let them.
1. Tell them to clean up the playroom. Hahaha. This is obviously just a preliminary step. Obviously they won’t listen, won’t care, will get distracted or otherwise not pick up a damn thing.
2. Get angry. Raise your voice a little. Speak sternly. Use their middle names. Do whatever it takes to let them know that you really mean it this time. They will still protest. “It’s too messy. I can’t do it by myself. I’m tired. Whaaaaa.” That’s okay.
3. Hold up a black plastic garbage bag and threaten to throw out all their stuff. Be specific and give them a reasonable task, though. Like, I said anything left on the carpet after fifteen minutes would be thrown out. It’s not fair if you don’t think they can actually finish the job. Then, every five minutes, I prodded them to keep at it. After fifteen minutes, I saw they were working in earnest, so I let them take some extra time to finish the task.
Okay, it’s not an organizational wonder and the carpet badly needs vacuuming. But still. I can walk through the room!
While this was going down many people on Twitter were pretty insistent that I would actually have to throw out their toys. Luckily, it didn’t come to that. I was maybe going to hide them away for a time or throw out a couple junked up things I wanted to get rid of anyway and let them earn back the rest.
What do you think? Do you have to put your money where your mouth is? Would you actually throw out your kids’ toys?