16 January 2006

The Law of Conservation of Toys

When he was a kid, here's how Tim's mom got him and his four brothers to pick up after themselves:

With five boys, Mom was often plagued by a lot of toys lying around (and of course not being picked up). Her solution: She put them in a box in the attic which we couldn't get into unless she let us. If you wanted a toy from the box, you traded a toy from your room. "The Law of Conservation of Toys" worked pretty well.

Grandmas are kick butt hackers.

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My sentiments exactly. Kids get bored with too many toys and all they do is get strewn all over the house. We keep toys stashed in the attic, and when we see that they're getting bored with one, we retire it and bring in a fresh one. That way, we keep those birthday and Christmas presents spread throughout the year, and the children always have toys they're interested in. And we keep the clutter to a minimum.

Our kids' toys also go into limbo when they choose not to clean up their toys in their rooms. When the room gets cleaned up, a toy can be reclaimed. This teaches choices/consequences, and helps keep their toys limited (and their rooms cleaner!).

What a great idea, my nearly two year old has lots and lots of toys around the house. Now we're coming up to his birthday we're getting scared. I may well use this!

I tell my kids--once--to pick up a toy, and if the toy isn't put away quickly, I tell 'em, "oh, that's ok, *I'll* put it up." They have learned that when Mama puts toys up, they get put up high on the shelf in her closet, and you never know when or if they come back out. By the time he was two and a half years old, my son had figured out that it was best to keep track of his things whenever Mama was around!

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