While we’ve ways tried to be intentional about the amount of toys we have in the house, somewhere along the line, we accumulated way more than the kids cold manage to keep tidy. To be clear, I take most of the blame for this. I was as attached to some of them as they were. And I wasn’t always as good about enforcing clean up time as I should have been.
It didn’t start out like this. When Little Bear was small, I wanted only wooden things and toys were picked carefully and treasured. But somewhere along the line, 10 Christmases, 8 birthdays, and 5 years later, we were fighting over 10¢ Happy Meal figures and broken plastic tiaras every single day.
So this weekend, because we were all too tired and a little under the weather, and because too many evenings were ending in tears and shouted threats, Papa and I sat down. We gathered the big kids, explained our position, and got out the garbage bags. Truthfully, papa and I both would have liked to do this in a grand gesture, toys being tossed out windows or shattered on the street, but we opted for a calm family meeting instead.
Unsurprisingly, Bug Bug didn’t care. He giggled and romped his way through the brightly colored carnage. Little Bear’s reaction was a bit more satisfying. She bid farewell to each object as she cleaned: “Goodbye my favorite pink Care Bear!” “Goodbye, music box that only works sometimes”
And then it was done. The kids can earn things back as they fill up rows on their “Good Listening Chart.” Of course, like most good parenting, this will end up being painful for us as we now have to deal with bored, whiny kids. Or maybe they will fill their time with chores and arts and crafts. I’ll let you know which scenario plays out.
ETA: One day in and they have both earned toys back. Little Bear picked her new stuffed Cinderella toy and they both picked their piggy banks. !?!?! Who knows, maybe this will teach them some strategic planning, as well. All I know is it better to teach them to clean up.