Parenting hack: Toy Jail

There has been a lot of talk around our house about natural consequences. If you don’t eat, you’ll be hungry. If you forget your coat, you’ll be cold. And if you don’t put your toys away, I will.

Wait, what? Yes, I will put them away. But my way. Which means you may or may not find them again.

I’ve been seeing a clever parenting tip going around lately, that gets more specific.

Toy Jail! I love it. On the plastic bin it reads: “You left it out and I picked it up. I’ve got your stuff, you’re out of luck. To get it back, please do a chore. Then it’s yours, just like before.”

The only caveat—we’ve actually discovered that the kids tend to forget all about the toys that go away, so they end up with me, cluttering my closet. (Kind of like their Halloween candy—but that ends up somewhere else.)

Do you have any favorite parenting hacks you’ve discovered lately? 

My other favorite clean-up trick (and we usually do this before resorting to Toy Jail) is a family clean-up session: set a timer for ten minutes and everyone works diligently until the timer goes off! We’ve also discovered that if you ever want the kids to play on their own, quietly in their room, telling them to clean up often has that result.

P.S. More on parenting. Including these brilliant, simple parenting tips.

[Top image from Paddington 2/produced by Heyday Films and StudioCanal UK.; bottom: source unknown/mummy]

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