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Alarm Clock Toy Box

Dear Obsessive Mothers Guide to Parenting,

              I feel like I'm fighting with my kids every night.  They don't pick up their toys and then I spend my evenings putting everything back where it goes.  I threaten to throw the toys away, but we paid so much for them, I don't want to.  At the end of the day, I don't want to be the mean mommy and I'm tired of yelling at them.  I need a new idea.

Sincerely,

Gaby from The Woodlands

 

Dear Gaby,

             First, take heart.  You are not alone.  This is a common dilemma.  Second, buy a large cardboard box from Lowe's or Home Depot and a cheap battery powered alarm clock from Walmart.  Set the alarm for whatever time you want, ex: 7:30pm, and every toy that is not picked up by the time the alarm goes off goes in the box.  

             The struggle of parenting is the subjective nature of every argument.  Turn this one into an objective one.  It's not you.  It's the box.  The box gets "fed" at 7:30 pm every night.  If they don't want the box to eat, they have to pick up their stuff.  If they leave stuff out, it goes into the box at 7:30 pm.  

             The last step is up to you.  Your options are: those toys get donated to charity or your kids can earn back those toys through various extra chores the next day.  The secret to making this all work is to decide that outcome prior to implementing the system so it stays objective.  Ex: "You earn one toy back for each of these activities: making your bed, taking out the trash, helping Mommy cook, eating all your vegetables, etc."

              This is a conquerable problem! And you can do it without destroying the relationship with your child.  Keep us posted on this challenge and as always, Happy Obsessive Parenting!

Sincerely,

The Obsessive Mother's Guide to Parenting

If you have a question you'd like answered, send it to obsessivemothersguide@gmail.com and look for your answer in upcoming columns.