How to get Little Kids to Pick Up Their Toys
By Susie E. Caron © 6/28/15
This will be short because I’m trying to sell my home and move, so I’m busy packing. However, as I’m going through a lot of ‘blessed items’ (i.e.junk) I recall what a miserable job it was to get kids to pick up their toys or ‘clean their rooms.’ This was especially true all summer, whenever they played indoors. When it came time to ‘pick up’ they suddenly wanted to be outside. However, I discovered a quick solution to getting all the toys in the living room picked up, and it worked beautifully, day after day.
Get a sturdy laundry basket with good solid handles. Tell the kids that 15 minutes before you begin to make supper, you are all going to play “Quick, Hide the Toys” game. (You can give the game any name you want, or ask the kids to name it after you all play once.) Explain that this is so they can start fresh tomorrow. But once each day, before supper, the toys have to disappear. Then you can all enjoy supper and family time without clutter."
This is how you play: You will hold the basket in both hands and the kids’ job is to see if they can throw their toys quickly and accurately into the basket, no matter where you are in the room and before the timer rings. (I hope you don’t let them play with large metal trucks in the house!!!) Now run through the living room and other living areas where toys were dispersed throughout the day. Make it fun by altering how easy or difficult it becomes for them to “hit the basket”!!! At the end you all do high fives and then you carry the basket to the children’s rooms and say, “Now I want you to put them away so you can find them again tomorrow. While you are doing that, I will make supper. When you finish putting your toys away, you can watch some TV”. (As a parent you offer one choice at this point to keep them focused. Remember they are tired and getting hungry.)
Now, it really doesn’t matter how they put the toys away or even if they get distracted and play with them. All you want is for them to be putting them back into their rooms and giving you time to make the evening meal. How’s that sound?
Next week I’ll tell you how to get the kids bedrooms picked up once each week and also how to get the kids to sort through and reduce the amounts of toys and ‘stuff’ they collect in their rooms.
If you like this article, or you have a great idea to share about getting kids to pick up, please share below. Also share this neat tip with your friends on social. Just click the links to share.
Twee’ means you and me
Together we can build parents & good kids.
Susie E. Caron
You Were Mine for a Short While
By Susie E. Caron © 6/21/15
I really thought, as I brought you home
You were mine forever.
I didn’t know that you were only
Mine for a short while.
Mine as I fed, sang, and played with you
Mine as I taught, cuddled, and prayed with you
Mine even when the school bus ate you up
On your first day.
You know, I cried that day.
And other days, whenever
I began to sense that you were only
Mine for a short while
Mine to cheer for, weep for, pray for
Mine to trust, console and wait for
As you conquered each steep climb
Into your life and away from mine
As I began to see a young adult,
With special gifts all your own
I knew more certainly that you were only
Mine for a short while.
Mine to hope for, and believe in
And trust also in God’s plan
As little by little, hesitantly, prayerfully
I let go and you moved into your world.
I am very proud of you
For who you are and all you do.
And I am always grateful we both grew because
You were really mine for a short while.
Note: If you liked this, please leave me a comment below and share with your friends.
Parents, Throw Out ‘Should' & 'Shouldn’t'.
By Susie E. Caron © 6/12/15
I’ll get right to the point: Throw out the words ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’. Put each on a piece of paper or a sticky note and rip them to shreds. Now as much as possible, from this day forward do not use these two words as you make your day to day parenting decisions (or correct some parenting mistakes you might have made). I am going to give you a much better word that you can substitute in place of ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’, but I’ll save that for the end of this article.
I want to tell you a bit more about these two words, what they represent and where they came from. That way you can feel more comfortable ripping them to shreds and substituting a much more useful word so you can make more confident parenting decisions.
Let’s examine the words ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’.
I’ll bet there are dozens of times while you’re raising kids that you feel a bit uncertain about what to do next or about some decision you already made. Those are the times you think things like:
Take a moment to consider how you've felt, whenever you’ve thought things like:
Like so many parents I’ve worked with, maybe you feel unsure, frustrated, or worried about
many parenting decisions. However, you may never have thought that there was something
wrong with using these two words.
What’s wrong with using 'should’ and 'shouldn’t'?
The words ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ actually demonstrate that you are judging yourself and your actions by using someone else’s list of rules! When you do, you are also likely feel uncomfortable, because this makes you check yourself to see if you are successfully measuring up. But there is a problem with this. You are trying to measure up to rules that you may or may not actually agree with because they are not your own.
Where did all the ‘rules’ come from?
These rules could have come from some ancestral list handed down over the years (For example: “Kids shouldn’t play outdoors in the rain because they can catch a cold.”) Or, they could be from your own imagined list; something you conjured up because you don’t feel confident to decide based upon what you really want. Like most of us you are doing it unconsciously. You probably imagine some judgmental person watching you and think to yourself, “What should I do?” or “I shouldn’t do that.” I call this kind of thinking, ‘spectatoring’ because you imagine you can see what your behaviors (especially parenting behaviors) look like to someone who could be watching and judging you. That's impossible and futile.
Throw out those words (and don't use them on your kids either.)
When you use ‘should and shouldn’t’ you impose a burden upon yourself to follow someone else’s rules. That can make you feel uncertain, frustrated, and unhappy. These aren’t your rules. It’s not what you want to do. Furthermore the decision you make may not then yield the outcome you wanted. That’s because your kids feel worried and confused when they detect that you have trouble deciding and they tend to respond by pushing you harder.
So what’s the answer to this problem?
Check in with your heart to see what it is you 'WANT' to do. You begin to substitute "WANT" for those two ugly, judgment implying words. From now on ask yourself questions like these:
“What do I want to do?” and answer this way, “I want to send my child to Daycare A.”
“What do I want to do differently next time?” You can answer, “Next time I will give my child a 5
minute warning for supper, and then I’ll unplug the video game.”
“What do I want to do now?” You might say, “I want to skip chores and take my kids to the
You see? It is best to check in with your heart because that's where your best decisions reside. Besides this builds your confidence. So instead of trying to follow some other unconscious list of rules stop using the words 'should' and 'shouldn't and do what is best for you and your child. You're a good parent and the best parent for your child. Use the word ‘want,’ and you will make better and more confident parenting decisions.
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Twee’ Means You & Me
Susie E. Caron
How To Be The Perfect Parent for Your Child
by Susie E. Caron © 6/7/15
Do you give yourself permission to parent your way? I recommend this, because you are the one true expert on your child and therefore the perfect parent for your individually unique child.
How do I know?
Do you remember when your first baby arrived, and how friends, family members, and everyone gave you advice? What did you do? Did you follow everything they told you? Or did you become frustrated because of the well-meaning but ill-timed advice, which often did not work?
I’ll bet, at that time, you gave yourself permission to do things your way. I certainly hope so, because you and only you are the expert on your child. That’s why you are the perfect parent for your child. In addition, you can grow and learn more about parenting as your child grows up.
Even childhood/parenting experts like me, need to continue to learn about more about children, development, discipline and parenting As a perfect parent, that’s what you need to do too. However, first let’s banish your doubts.
Maybe you sometimes feel uncertain as a parent about what you should or shouldn’t do or what is right or wrong in parenting decisions. Where did these thoughts and feelings come from? Who told you that you couldn’t parent your children your way very well?
You may be surprised to discover that there are two main sources for such doubt. The first is yourself. The second is everyone else.
First, you may doubt yourself, if you ever received criticism as a child, (and who hasn’t?) In your teens you probably tried to reject any criticism and you thought something like, “When I grow up I will believe in myself. I won’t put myself down.” However, as humans we tend to carry what our caregivers, teachers and coaches told us about ourselves, right into adulthood. So you may not easily identify and separate your own thoughts and feelings from those you have been told. That makes you doubt yourself. The remedy for this is to believe in yourself again.That’s why I want you to tell yourself that you are an expert of your child; the perfect parent for your child.
Other sources of doubt can include all the people who try to tell you they know more about how to handle your child than you do. These could include teachers, doctors, relatives, or friends. You may also add all the advice from ‘experts’ on the internet, books, teleseminars, etc. Can you see how confusing this much advice can be? If you try to use it all, you would feel like a failure because every child is different. Every parent is different too. To make things even more complex, every child-parent relationship and interaction is also different and unique. So to be your child’s perfect parent you have to recognize that ‘one parenting idea does not fit every child, parent, parent-child relationship, or situation.’
How can you sort out and use ‘advice.’ I recommend you read and listen to as much of it as you can because that’s how you discover actual parenting truths and differing opinions. Parenting truths are those things everyone agrees on, like, "feed kids good nutritious meals." Opinions are those that may work for some kids, or some parents, in some situations but not all. For example, "What’s the right feeding schedule and the right amount of formula and to feed an infant?"
From this day forward I want you to believe in yourself. I encourage you to do what you know in our heart is the very best for you and your child. This will give you confidence to seek out parenting truths and to use opinions where they make sense to you. That’s how you can be the perfect parent for your child.
Thank you for reading this article. If you found it helpful please leave a comment and share with your friends on social media.
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Twee’ means you and me
Susie E. Caron
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!