Friday, October 25, 2013

The Time We Took All Of The Toys Away

The playroom was trashed. Literally…there was trash everywhere! Specifically, crayon wrappers.

Recently I have added a super "fun" addition to the playroom; a towel rod and roll of paper along with another rod with buckets of crayons, markers, and scissors. The hope was to spark their "creativity".
This decision, I have grown to regret.

During quite time the tyrants they find it humorous to chop paper into micro pieces and throw them all over the ground.
I kept finding broken toys, crayons, and books.

Then…one night…I lost it.

I went mommy crazy. Granted, it was past 7pm (that's my limit FYI) and I was exhausted! But still…enough was enough.

I told them I was taking away their toys. I called James up into the playroom and told him something had to change. We decided that they have been disrespectful and disobedient. The punishment was to take away the toys; nearly all of them.
We left the boys with 6 "guys" and the batman fortress.
We called the boys into the playroom (they had been banished to their room until mommy regained her cool) and told them what was about to happen; no more costumes, no more crayons, no more legos, and no more superhero gear.
That did it. Tears. Lots of tears; mostly from Micah (which is rare).

In that moment they knew we meant business.
It wasn't that we were tired (even though we were); it was that we felt disrespected. We, as their parents, felt as though they didn't care as to what we thought. I asked them to clean and nothing happened. Ok…maybe a couple spiderman costumes were put into the toy box…but not the "guys", and legos, and other junk.


that was it

6 "guys"
1 fort

and nothing else.

You know what….
It worked.
We set up rules.

#1- Do not ask for your toys back; we will say "no"
#2- We will decide the behavior that earns the toys back
#3- Good behavior gets rewarded; bad behavior loses toys.
#4- Clean up your junk

They cleaned it up better. Probably because it was easier without all of the excess.
They didn't ask for their toys back.
In fact….it's been a month and they have earned all of their guys back; along with the coloring and paper.
But nearly everything else is still packed away in my closet. Just sitting there.  This really makes me notice for the first time about how much excess my children have.
I'm talking about bins, and bins still just sitting in my closet that my kids have forgot about. They are happy with what they have, and have learned to treat what they do have better. If something breaks, it won't be replaced with something else. That is all they have.

I am so glad about our decision. Taking away their toys has taught our entire family about what excess can do. Having too many "things" doesn't just clutter your home; it clutters your mind as well.
Now it is time to pack up those toys in my closet and get them out of the house.

At this point they will be none-the-wiser.


Samantha Jade Minor said...

I understand completely how you feel. I've even taken my kids' toys away. Some times I think they just have too much "junk" to keep up with and it makes it easier for them to keep everything clean when there is not so much. Good Job!

Rachel said...

I remember my Mom doing this--probably more than once because there were so many of us! Having toys, or other beloved belongings, is a privilege for children, not a right!

Tania said...

Holy Mackerel!! I did something similar once and it worked for awhile. I think it's about time to do it again. We also decided this year that friends and relatives who give our children Christmas presents will get a special list of what is acceptable this year. Half the toys the got last year are already broken or they don't play with them anymore. Thanks for reminding me I can do this. :)