Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Toy Cleanup Training

Aaron is fantastic at cleaning up his toys. He mastered this 'skill' very early on and has accepted it as part of his day. In fact, he used to operate on the rule that he could have no more than three toys out at any one time.

Unfortunately, I have failed with Adrian. Its not that I didn't try but I think I didn't spend as much time following through with what needs to be done. And also, Aaron has always helped to clean up the mess that Adrian made. The result now is that Adrian plays with everything in the toy cupboard at the same. And when the time comes to clean up, he does nothing. 

Obviously, I needed to do something about this and over the past couple of weeks, I have started and adhered to a strict toy cleanup routine at the end of each day. When its time, I let them know, then I turn the timer on for 15 minutes. Once the timer rings, I walk around with the laundry basket and pick up any toys that are still out and keep them. Most of the time I forget to return the toys and only return them when the store room is full. Adrian did look like he got the idea and I was initially encouraged with his behavior. Then, the smarty pants worked out that he could sit back and do the bare minimum because Aaron would always pick up the slack. Aargh!! I definitely felt sorry for Aaron. 

So a few days ago, I started waiting for an opportunity to step up the repercussions. Finally, I saw Adrian carelessly discard a toy that he likes in the middle of the kitchen. Aha! In I swooped, picked it up, made a big show of it and then threw it in the rubbish bin. He was horrified and understandably upset. The good and bad to this little incident was that Aaron ended up feeling sorry for Adrian and helped him get the toy out of the bin and even washed it for him. 

The drastic move of throwing his toys in the bin actually backfired on me. The next time I kept his toys away in the store room, he came to clarify that I wasn't putting them in the bin and then was completely fine with them being taken away. 

Frustrating right? Why was it so hard to get him to pack up the toys. He has a perfectly good example in Aaron to follow. 

I had to step it up once more. Yesterday, I not only picked up the few toys that he didn't get around to. I also, took out all three drawers full of toys because he left the cupboard doors open. He wasn't paying attention when I did my rounds so he had no idea.

The look on his face was priceless when he opened up the cupboards this morning and saw them completely empty. These are toys that he mostly plays with so he definitely felt the pain. And for now, he's showing some sign that he is getting the idea of picking up his share of the toys. 

How long will it last?


Mike said...

I still have trouble picking up my toys.

johnorford said...

tiger mom!