Then I saw an idea on Pinterest....God bless Pinterest.
Unfortunately, I never could find an original link for this picture. But allow me to give credit where credit is due: if this is your idea, I bow down to you. You are my hero.
I had a basket that I used to gather the kids' toys up to take into their rooms. I emptied it, then called a meeting. I explained that to my Flower (10) and Little Man (4) that anytime I found something of theirs laying around the house I was going to pick it up and put it in the basket. If they finished playing with a toy and do not put it up, it goes in the basket.
On day one, I had 10 hot wheels, a pair of ear buds, and several super heroes. Flower wasn't too concerned about the ear buds, but Little Man was just devastated at the loss of his super heroes. He asked for a chore, so I told him to sweep the kitchen. He was actually excited, and swept with a happy heart and earned his toys back. It was the worst sweep-job that kitchen has ever seen, but I don't care. He learned a lesson, and did it with a great attitude.
Last night, I picked up several superheroes, two pair of shoes, some jewelry, and a few odd toys. This morning, at breakfast, I walked into the dining room with my basket. I reminded them that they couldn't even go outside to play until they had done chores, because their shoes were in the basket! They gave each other a glance, not sure what to think.
About 30 minutes later, Little Man came up to me and said "Mama, I am going to go get dressed, then I am going to do a chore, ok?" A few minutes later he came in dressed and said "Mommy, I decided I will clean my room and put all my toys where they belong. I will even pick my toys up in the closet!" Not too long afterwards, he came out and asked me to go look at his room - sure enough, the toys were all where they belonged and his room was spotless!! Because he actually had quite a bit of picking up to do in his room, and because he had such a great attitude about it, I let him take all of his things out of the basket. He was so proud of himself!
Flower still isn't too concerned about getting her items back. She really would rather lose them than to do chores to get them back (except I am holding her favorite pair of Converse, so it won't be long!). But, she is paying closer attention to not leaving her things out.
I figure this is a win/win situation for me. They are both doing a great job picking up their things once they are finished using them, which saves me from having to pick them up constantly. When I do have to put things in the basket, I have less chores to do myself! Their attitudes have been great, and they are learning that we have to work for the things we want.
How do you get your kids to pick their toys up after they get finished playing with them? Have you tried the chore box?! It works!!
Be blessed today!!