Are you ready for one of the greatest tips I have for getting your kids to clean up after themselves?
Well of course you are!!
That is a silly question, because I know nobody enjoys sitting on a matchbox car that was left under a couch pillow!
My son has always been pretty good at picking up after himself—I know, I am blessed. But then my daughter came along. She is always carting her toys all over the house and leaving her treasures scattered in just about every imaginable place.
At night I want to rest and relax and turn “Mommy Brain” off and that is just not possible for me if there is clutter of any kind around. (I am a bit obsessive, but that is the truth of it and even if you can shut off in clutter, I know you would all appreciate your children taking care of their own messes!)
So for my own sanity I had to do something about the random toys left out at night. And then I saw this post from “Just Another Day in Paradise” on pinterest (a beautiful thing, albeit a time sucker), and I wanted to kiss the woman who invented it!! She was a genius!
I had just been confiscating my children’s (okay my daughter’s toys) for a few days before returning them if they were left out at night, but making her work for them would up the ante!! She may get the clue that Mom wasn’t playing games any longer.
So I printed out the beautiful logo and attached it to a large bin that I placed on my fridge–where the kids would see the bin and be reminded of my wrath. And then I made less than desirable chores for each child. I explained to the kids what would be happening in the future and then we proceeded about our lives.
Nothing for a week, no toys left out. They knew I followed through on what I told them so just the threat alone got them both running around each night before bedtime, cleaning up everything they could.
But then it happened. They both left a toy out on the same night. The next morning, I promised the return of the toys if they each picked a chore and completed it. My son, who was 8 at the time, drew cleaning the baseboards of the bottom level of the house–ouch, that was the hardest chore I came up with! My daughter, who was 4, had to dust my kitchen and dining room table and chairs. They procrastinated on the chores, saying they could live without their precious belongings. I made it clear that if the toy remained in the bin after 2 weeks, I would find a child who would love it. They got to work.
Let me tell you that it has been a miracle around my house. They have never left anything out again and that it was over a year ago that I made this bin. Now my kids are very compliant, so with that said, don’t expect the same extreme result. But I promise you the minute your child leaves out something valuable and you enforce this, they will get the hint and your house will be spotless 🙂 Feel free to put your husband’s stuff in the Ransom Box as well 🙂
A few tips: If your child is working on a project like Legos or puzzle, of course that can be left out overnight. If it is a late night or they are sick I of course extend grace as well.