Have you ever looked in to your child’s room and wanted to just….SCREAM!? Yeah, me, too.
It doesn’t take much–just a birthday, or a Christmas, or a day at the fair–to make a child’s room look like it is about to explode with toys, books, stuffed animals, and movies. *Usually* I can control myself, and, instead of screaming, I say those dreaded words, “Honey, it’s time to get rid of some things”. Not once has this sentence produced good results. At the best I’ll receive a frown or pout…at worse there may be tears and heartbreak. What to do?
I choose to bribe.
This is how it works. I place one box per child in the living room and I tell them again about the children who don’t have toys, books and movies and how nice it is of us to donate our things to the homeless shelter. They listen but it doesn’t usually send them scrambling to pick up toys and toss them in the box. Next I explain that for every ten items they put in the box, they will receive a prize. I change up the prize depending on what appeals to my children at the moment in time. These are the two which have worked the best for us:
- For every ten items in the box, I will drive the child to the dollar store and buy him/her a $1 item (I encourage them to choose disposable items like candy, balloons, bubbles, etc….but, even if they choose a toy, there are nine less items in the room and it’s a toy that will break soon! Ha!). If the child culls twenty items, he will get two $1 items…and so on….
- For every ten items in the box, I will drive the child to the fast food joint of his/her choice, and buy the child a $1 treat. If the child wants a more expensive treat, well….get to tossing those toys, Kid! Yes, sometimes my children earn six-course McDonald’s meals. I’m fine with that!
How do you encourage children to de-clutter their rooms? Any secrets you’d like to share? I sure would love to hear them!