“Tots and Toys,” Ensign, June 1981, 53
One day when I grew tired of telling my children to pick up their toys and getting no response, I decided to borrow an idea from our church nursery. First I emptied one large, low shelf and one large, high shelf in our hall closet. Then, with the help of my two- and three-year-old boys, I sorted out all the toys that had small pieces and put the pieces to each toy in separate containers. We used milk cartons, cloth bags, and shoe boxes. All the containers were labeled and placed on the low shelf.
Then I explained the new rules to the boys:
1. Before you can get a toy out of the closet in the morning, your bed must be made and your pajamas put away.
2. Before you can choose a second toy, the first one must be picked up and returned to the closet. If the toy is not picked up in a reasonable length of time, mother puts it on the high shelf where it remains for three days.
In an amazingly short time our new system was operating smoothly. I found it helped to occasionally compliment the boys on helping to keep our home neat and clean.
When the responsibility for taking care of toys is shifted to the child, mother and father do not have to nag or plead or pick up toys themselves. Children like it because they can always find the pieces to their toys, and they only have to pick up one set of toys at a time instead of a whole roomful. Judy Grigg Hansen, Boise, Idaho