November 13, 2014
Do your children have difficulty taking care of all their possessions? When our children were young, we tried our best not to buy them every toy they wanted. Still, it seemed like their room was full of things that had to be picked up. Left to their own devices the rooms became a terrible mess. Fortunately, we discovered a simple solution that I want to pass on to you. You may have to adapt this for your own situation.
We had a small closet to the side of each child's room. I simply installed a lock on the mini-door leading to the closet. Each evening at bedtime if there were any toys still left on the floor or where they were not supposed to be, I scooped them up and locked them in the closet. This meant that child had fewer things to put away the next evening, more manageable.
Children are always going to push boundaries though. One of our kids failed to pick up any toys for several days in a row. Eventually all her toys were locked in the closet. She had literally nothing left on the shelves. On that evening she very successfully picked up everything - there was nothing left. And then I could unlock the closet and let her retrieve one item. It was like Christmas! The next evening that one item was placed where it belonged. She was able to manage one possession. Therefore she could go in and retrieve another item from the closet. By the third or fourth night, I had to put things in the closet.
As you can see this was a self-regulating system. When she got too many possessions she couldn't take care of them. Some of them disappeared until she returned it to a manageable number of possessions. We live in a mostly affluent society. Our kids have way more than they can handle. That's been true for decades. You and I can't do anything about the rest of society but we can manage our own families.
I share this in the hope that you may adapt it to fit your situation with your own children. Blessings on your role as parents, trying to live in a culture that is over-the-top materialistic.
In His Service,
Tim Miesner, Principal