Thursday, November 12, 2009

the value of everything

Recently, after failing miserably with a combined rewards system of star chart, praise, stickers, cuddles, smiley-face hand-stamps, chocolates, sweeties and new toy promises we have resorted to a punishment system that simply involves the removal of a favourite toy, with the promise of its swift return should our son actually deign to do something which he knows perfectly well how to do, can do all on his own and has done countless times, but which he has now given up on.

So far, we have removed ALL his trains (a major event), his new playmobil airplane, his Charlie & Lola books and his toy buses. Next will be the box with all his cars.

The upshot of this is that, after an initial moment of sheer disbelief as his train-set went on top of the wardrobe, he has become quite philosophical about losing these toys and has instead turned his attentions to previously less popular things.

In fact, despite the question of him not doing something he should be, I'm actually quite enjoying taking away his favourite toys and to be honest, so is he. Yesterday he rounded up his buses, handed them to me and then waved at them as they peered down from their new heights.

There are toys being played with now to which he's never much paid attention, toys that have been loved and then deserted; toys which are now getting a proper look in. He spent this evening building a garage for his cars out of building blocks and then building trains out of Playdough, it's like he's learning how much value is really there in his over-populated playroom.

I've decided to keep going until either he gives in or he has no toys left. I actually think it's going to be good for his imagination.

I'll keep you posted.

11 comments:

Potty Mummy said...

The best of luck with that!

Michelle said...

I have used this same tactic as well, Sparx, and agree that it helps to clear out the clutter every once in a while. Hopefully, it works for discipline, too!

SAHM-I-AM said...

Having trouble in that department with my Little Dude too. I wish you success.

Buck said...

Meanie... no, no wait. Super-Meanie!

Sparx said...

Potty - hmmm... you sound a bit like you might be the voice of experience here. We lost the cars yesterday and he turned his attention to drawing... so far it's not having the desired results but the side-effects are quite good...

Michelle - well... it's actually not working a hoot but we'll see!

SAHM - good luck! They'll sort themselves out in their own time I guess...

Buck - I know, I am Dorothy's worst enemy...

SAVanVleck said...

I applaud you for seeing how well this is working.

The first time I visited my nephew's new home, I was floored. The garage had five motorized cars, the bedroom was floor to ceiling with toys, the backyard was full of toys and the basement was drowning.

The child was a brat who expected everything to be handed to him.

The child will grow up to be an adult who expects the world to hand him a living, a mercedes and anything his heart desires.

He will not know the value of his own mind, nor the satisfaction of working for something, nor to share his wealth with others.

the b in subtle said...

I agree that less is more and can be wondrous for a little person's imagination! (I love that he gathered some up and handed them to you himself.) What a great inspiration for new discovery - my son is so young right now, but I learn from blogs like yours what may be coming to me and what tactic(s) I might try myself. Thanks for sharing. (Nancy)

Sparx said...

SAVanVleck - I am trying to instil in him some level of value and we don't give him a lot of toys. I've loved watching him go back to playing with building blocks and loving it - and now he's responded well and has all his toys back, he's still playing with them which is great.

Nancy - thank you so much, it's nice to hear someone's getting something from my ramblings. This has been a great experiment to be honest, I'm really pleased we've done it.

Maternal Tales said...

Hee hee - this post made me laugh (although not sure I really should have done)!! But hey...Anyway, I think you're doing fabulously well. And despite everything - I'm quite loving the Spud's reaction - ooh hello buses up there. Fab. x

Sparx said...

Maternal Tales - yes, he's got quite the good attitude to it all! But I have to say he is loving having the buses back now that he's caved in under the thumb...!

Sad Rabbit said...

I have tried this with my son. It didnt work. Now he is older, i just send him to his room. Big deal mummy..he just lays on his bed and reads a book. If i take away the book du jour, he just picks up another. Damn my genes for giving birth to a cunning, conniving but very bright child.....:-)