"We have toy clean up three times a day. They don't eat unless they pick up."
"We keep all our toys in a separate play room, sectioned out like a preschool classroom."
A large playroom with separate play areas? I'd love that, trust me I would. In fact, I spend more time dreaming up awesome playrooms than I do dreaming up the perfect kitchen or bedroom. But let's face it, we have four kids in one bedroom (or will in a couple days), with no extra rooms to spare. I'm just glad we have a large living room.
|January's Toy Sort |
(Yes, that black bag is full of trash
that was mixed in with all the toys)
When the floor is cluttered, the kids are bored and can't find anything to play with. When Cherith and Daryn get bored, they spend a lot of time watching TV or pestering their siblings or fighting about something. When Ethan is bored, he goes from one thing to another, just making messes and getting into things... like throwing dry oatmeal into the air, climbing on the kitchen counter and swallowing half a package of gum, running into the bathroom and stuffing toilet paper down the sink drain... all of this in a 15 minute span.
For the past couple years, I've known that I need to figure something out. It's just not working. Thing is, on Aaron's school nights, I'm just too tired to do kid pick up time, so more often than not, we skip it those nights, then before I know it, it's a total wreck, too cluttered for me or the kids to handle in a quick pick up, and then we just live with it for days.
So, anyway... I've been throwing around an idea that I think I'm going to try. But I'd love feedback on it.
Truth: The kids are more creative, more happy, more kind, more pleasant to be around, when their play area is cleared and organized.
Truth: My stress level is incredibly lower when the living room is clutter free and the kids are pleasant.
Truth: Ethan seems to thrive on some sort of loose structure. His attention span is short, but if it is not directed, it gets him into trouble as he "mess hops".
So, what if...
1) I put away all the toys in our universal/toy closet. There would be no toys out in the living room except kid books.
2) At night, after the kids are in bed, I would choose two sets of toys for the next day and put them out on the shelves in the living room.
3) I would also assemble 2-3 workboxes (educational activities in a box) for Daryn and Ethan to do while I help Cherith with her school in the mornings. I would be available to help them a little with their workboxes, but the activities would be simple enough, yet intriguing enough, to not require my 100% attention.
4) During the morning, we would have school/workbox time, then the rest of the day, they can play with the two sets I previously chose or...
play computer games (limited)
draw, color, crafts
imaginative role play
5) At the end of the day, those two sets would be put away in the closet. After the kids go to bed, I would then restock the workboxes and the two sets of toys.
That's the reasons and the idea. Here are the "buts"
I'm pretty lazy. What if I don't stick to the rules? What if one night, the two sets don't get picked up?
Is it too much structure? Am I turning my kids' day into a daycare type day?
What if the kids complain all the time?
How on earth do I think of things for the boys to do in their workboxes?
I guess it's kinda like: I'd love to give it a try, but I'm afraid of failure. And afraid that maybe it's the wrong solution.
Thoughts? Cause I'd love to hear 'em.