Chaotic Monkey turned 6 last October. It is a bit insane to think that my youngest is already 6, a full little person with a lot of personality and spirit.
He loves toys. That might sound like an obvious statement considering that he is a child but not all kids are the same. Big Monkey has always been more about making up stories and acting them out, drawing or making things. Toys, not that much. But Chaotic Monkey could spend hours playing with the tiniest figurines. Hours! He always has a toy in his hand – going for dinner, to the bathroom, to his bed, everywhere!
He mixes and matches also. So the dinosaurs, Darth Vather, Storm Troopers, Ninja Turtles and Spider-man can all easily be in the same game. I love that about him. He has an amazing capacity to immerse himself into a game for so long that he forgets about the rest of the world – just him and his toys
The downside to all this playing, is that the playroom’s floor gets covered in toys every day. He has an uncanny ability to have at least 20 toys down in .2 of a second, and that is no exaggeration whatsoever! But then, at the end of the day, when it is time to go to bed, he is always too tired to tidy up, or there is too much to do, or he can’t do it by himself and he talks his brother into helping him, or his head/ear/nose/hair/foot/brain is sore, or he just simply refuses to do it.
Shortly after he turned 6 I had a chat with him about what it meant being a big boy : helping out more, no winging, tidying up, eating better… Looking back at our little meeting I realise that he would have agreed to anything that day as there was a hot chocolate and a brownie in front of him… oh well, we live and learn..
As much as I would like to say that the tidying improved, I can’t. It only happened as a consequence of “Angry Mum”, blackmail (“your friends can’t come to play until the toys are tidy”) or when he wants something and, as a side note, always be aware when that happens…
So I decided to try a new approach in the new year, one they had been threatened with for a while but I never implemented.
Every toy left out of place at night goes into a bag and is decommissioned for 2 days.
Does it work? Oh Yes!
Why did I not try it before? Don’t know!
There was of course resistance from Chaotic Monkey. He might have even contacted Amnesty International to make sure it was in agreement with the Geneva Convention on Human Rights, but once that was confirmed, he had to go along with it.
I have been doing it for a couple of weeks and I am picking up less and less toys every day so it seems to be working. For how long? I expect I will have an answer to that very soon, but for the time being, the toys are put away at night and there are less toys on counters and tables everywhere, so I’ll take this little victory and enjoy it while it lasts.
Have you got a technique to get your kids to tidy up that works for you? Let us know! All together we can win this battle!
Have a great day.