Love and Logic Parenting
By Jedd Hafer, www.loveandlogic.com
Ali’s kids helped her create a pawn shop and a charity. Her twin toddlers didn’t mean to help create these entities, but they did.
Eva and Eric left a mass of toys scattered all over the house. Ali used a Love and Logic phrase she learned in a class: “You get to keep the toys you pick up and I’ll keep the ones I pick up.”
Then came the hardest part — following through. She got a trash bag and filled it with the toys her children hadn’t picked up. At first, she worried because the twins didn’t seem particularly upset by their diminished toy supply (thanks to Grandma, it was quite impressive).
But Ali did notice there were fewer items spread out the next time. She also noticed the twins moved a bit faster and her daughter Eva checked out of the corner of her eye to see where Mom was while she picked up. Fewer toys went into the bag the second time.
By the third repetition, Mom barely had to pick up anything. And as she casually walked near one of Eric’s favorites, he scrambled to pick it up before she got there.
Ali’s new dilemma: what to do with these toys in the bag. She had heard that some parents decide to let their kids do extra chores (not their regular contributions to the family) to earn back some toys. She liked that idea, but she took it to another level. She picked out the best of the confiscated toys and placed them on a high shelf with actual price tags (Eva and Eric were learning about numbers and money). Some of the toys had twenty-five cents and a picture of a quarter on their tags.
Ali made a list of chores that were worth twenty-five cents when completed. By some strange coincidence, they were also tasks she wanted done. Ali’s pawn shop was born, and they all had quite a bit of fun exchanging chores, money, and toys.
Some toys didn’t make it to Ali’s pawn shelf. She tried to donate them to an organization but learned that particular charity would not accept “used toys.” Never one to give up easily, Ali called her local church daycare and asked if they could use some toys. They could! And they were even willing to come to pick them up. To make it worth the church’s while, Ali enlisted a neighbor friend who also needed to get rid of some excess toys. To top it off, she decided to donate some of her own clothes to the church’s program for people in need.
Eva and Eric were given the gift of watching some of their toys being handed to the church staff as well as seeing Mom donate, too.
While many parents would lecture the kids and hand the toys back quickly (or maybe not enforce the limit in the first place), this mom was able to turn the toy mess into two important lessons.