Wednesday, July 25, 2007

He Wanted Me to Throw Away His Toys

-Yet another story about the stubbornness of Nolan.

Yesterday the game du jour was pile the toys. I'm not sure the motivation this time, sometimes they are pretending they are moving, sometimes going on an adventure, and sometimes the room is an ocean and the bed is the boat. Regardless of the motivation, the result is a lot of toys taken from one place and piled up in another.

When the play was done I asked the kids to put the toys back where they belonged. Nolan flat out refused, claiming he needed help. My theory is generally, if you are old enough to make the mess, you are old enough to clean it up. The other kids were working on other messes, and I asked Nolan to start and I would help him in a few minutes. The response was not very receptive.

I finished up what I was working on and went to check on his progress. Not one single thing was put away. He was still pouting where I had left him. I asked him again to start. He refused. So I pulled out the threat that has worked with the older two every single time. "If you don't put away your toys, I will throw them all away." He did not budge. "Are you going to put them away or should I get the trash bag?" "Get the trash bag," he replied. I think my jaw hit the floor.

After picking my jaw back up, I went and got a trash bag, fully expecting the sight of it to motivate him to clean up his mess. I was wrong. I started putting his toys in the trash bag. No affect. I put his toys in the bag while mentioning the merits of each toy and asking him if he was sure he wanted it thrown away. He didn't care.

Now a bed full of toys sit in a trash bag in my bedroom. No, they are not waiting to be given back to Nolan. There is a consignment toy sale for a local church in the fall. Some of the toys will be going to that. Some, I will sneak back into the mix at a much later date because they are part of a set I want to keep. What is left will hit the trash can. I've been wanting to thin out their toys for awhile now, I guess Nolan gave me a good reason to start.


  1. The first time I threatened to throw away Jude's toys he didn't care too much but after I really threw some stuff away he takes my "threats" very seriously and it works as a motivation for him.

  2. Woohoo! Good for you, Stephanie.

  3. I did this to Matthew. I told him each night (when I only had one to keep up after, mind you) that any toys left on the floor would be thrown in the trash. He was very good about cleaning up and the consequence didn't have to be stated after a while. Then one day, he got a new toy and kept removing a piece that wasn't meant to be removed. After so many times, I told him I'd throw the piece away if he took it off one more time. He did. I did. I fully intended to replace it after he'd gone to bed, but I forgot and it was never seen again.

  4. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no... Well done!

  5. Great job! I'm always using that line with Girlie Girl. I'm sure one day she'll say the same thing! LOL!

    Thank you for sharing this with the Carnival of Family Life. Your post will be included in the July 30th edition at An Island Life.

  6. Good for you meaning what you say. This is so hard.

    Another method I like to use is if I have to pick up your toys then I decide when they come out. Would you like me to pick them up or will you.You can choose. or your toys need to be away before bedtime/dinner/clock gets to 3 or I choose where they go.
    I put the toys away but insight( plastic clear container on a shelf)
    I find we don't get into the pick it up or me issuing threats. If he doesn't he sees the consequence. We work out how he can work to get the toy also gives me a chance to see if he needs it back and what I should do. I refer to the toy sadly or he asks he can see it. It keeps the toys where he wants them- with him- usually. I do recognise though that sometimes you just don't want to pick up things. So my approach varies and so does the solution. :)