Saturday, July 9, 2011

No "Mother of the Year Award" for Me!

I will probably go down as the meanest mom around, if you ask my kids. (At least right now anyway).  Has anyone ever had the problem I am having, with kids not putting their toys away after playing? Granted, our situation is a little unique right now... my girls, nearly 7 and 3 1/2 are living in their playroom right now, sleeping on couches, and using the laundry room to house their dressers as well as their "changing" room.  My. house. is. a. disaster.!  My boys are living in our enclosed deck, which is also used as a "catch all" room for remodeling and our freezer is in there too.  We are in the middle (have been for 4 years) of a remodel, hence, the kids have been demoted to other rooms in the house while their rooms are being gutted and put back together.  I feel sorry for them, it's not their fault they have been uprooted to other, not so enticing, square footage.

HOWEVER..... I have had the hardest time getting some of the brood to pick up after themselves.  Although the play room is a multi-purpose room right now, I understand that it will be messy from time to time.  But the constant mess has proven to be more than I can handle.  I have threatened over the years, that if they can't keep their rooms clean, then we can donate their things to the Deseret Industries where other children can have them and take care of them.  I've never followed through on my threats. Until today!  I'd pretty much had it, and decided, 'okay, you're not going to pick up after yourself, then these things are gone.' 

I've loaded two large garbage sacks of toys to take and donate. The problem is, these aren't toys that they ignore, or just play with every now and then.... these are toys that they play with ALL THE TIME, and thoroughly enjoy.  I also told them that there will be no more toys at birthdays or at Christmas, only books, art stuff, things like that, until I see improvement.  Will this help them understand that yes, I do expect them to help out and be responsible? I hope so. Am I mean for doing this? I imagine to some I will come across that way. I hate to take these things that we have purchased, but I'm kind of at my wits' end, not sure how else to teach them.  We shall see if this does in fact help. 

You'd think after having 5 children, I would have this down, and know what I should to help them.  Apparently not. 


  1. When my kids had a playroom I gave them a warning - they would have a certain set amount of time - and I would set the timer. Whatever was still on the floor when I came in to the room went in the garbage bag. I would hang the big black sack on the door of the playroom as motivation. This worked pretty well. We also had cleaning parties where we all would go to the playroom with 2 trash bags - one for donating and one for throwing away. This way we all had a say in what went and what stayed. They also LIKED giving away things they didn't play with anymore to the charity shop or DI.

    I have friends that just box up what is laying around and keep it on a shelf in the garage for 3 months until the kids earn it back. Then it is just like giving them new toys again.

    Good luck!!!

    I don't know why I can never post on your blog anymore. So if it shows up anonymous this is Sandy

  2. As hard as it may seem, I think you are doing the right thing. It will teach them how to value things and responsibility. Seeing you follow through with it tells them that you very well mean it and teaches them to have better judgment in you the next time you threaten. You will have something to fall back on when they don't do it. You can say, "You better believe me because last time, what happened to your stuff? It's gone, just like I said." I think it might be harder on you than them. Especially, as you mentioned, since you spent money on the items. For me it would hard because most of their toys are vintage Fisher Price and I collect them. So I understand completely. Good luck and know that if it's what you feel is best for them, then you are making the right decision.

  3. Oh, I just remembered. When Darius and Abbie were smaller, I had a plastic bin with a lid and wrote on it "Jail Box". If they were naughty or if they didn't clean the toys, the toys that were left out went to jail. They had to either wait out their sentence or they could pay a bond by doing something.