Monday, October 13, 2014

Cleaning Up

With all the "resources" and "learning materials" (i.e. toys and books) in the house there is a perpetual state of chaos. And in my adult life I am a minimalist so my instinct is to purge everything. So when I came across this article at "Happiness is Here" I felt inspired. Not only does it aline with my perspective on parenting (back off Mama, watch, lead by example, etc.), it proved so successful for one family that I knew I should share it with you.

 "We hoped that by leading by example we might effect more change than by trying to force them to do it. That was the idea anyway, but we didn’t have great expectations. We thought it was quite possible that they would think that this was a pretty sweet deal. That they might relax even more, thinking someone else would always clean up after them. But what else was there to do? We didn’t like how things were going, something had to change. An experiment seemed worth a shot, and we had nothing to lose. So we did it. And it has been AMAZING." From

It seems like an experiment worth trying, here, too. Not only could it help with keeping the house clean but it also can be viewed as pre-STEM learning! Sorting toys into categories is good for pre-Math. Bringing order to chaos is could be considered pre-Physics and pre-Astronomy (I'm laughing out loud at myself for that stretch). Stacking books into a spot that fits and smooshing stuffed animals into a container is good pre-Engineering...children learning about size, shape, and material. They also learn about the system of the toy room and how it works. All in all, if we are successful with modeling clean up instead of nagging for clean up, it will be a huge win for us all.

From "Too Many Toys" by David Shannon

The entire article also reminds me of a book for you to try. "Too Many Toys" by David Shannon has gone over very well in our house. David Shannon has a remarkable way of writing a story that resonates with both child and adult reader. My kids connect with the child in the story who has all the same types of toys as they do (musical instruments, animals, quiet toys and noisy toys). I love the negotiating the child and mother do. And, at the end of the story, they have chosen a good quantity of toys for donating AND discovered the best toy of all - an empty box.

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  1. Replies
    1. So far, my stress has reduced immensely. My 2 year old almost immediately began to pitch in but my autistic child is less apt to "get the hint." I'm confident that in time (and with some gentle talk from me) he'll join, too.

  2. I NEED this book. We are at this point, it's October..two months before Santa visits! But this year, my girls KNOW each and every toy in their inventory. No more sneaking them out.