My home is decorated with a tree, garland running up my stairs, lights twinkling and singing that something special is about to happen. I'm madly cleaning and washing all our clothes and bed sheets in anticipation of our big trip to visit family and be able to return to a clean home. It's beginning to look and feel like Christmas. Or is it?
It doesn't seem like my children notice. Lately they have been constantly fighting, hitting, screaming, and yelling at each other. They have been talking back and being sassy. They are unable and unwilling to clean their room when asked...and bribed. Just tonight I continually asked them to clean their room. And gently reminded them each time I passed their door while I was doing laundry. And with each passing I noticed the mess grew and grew. More toys covered the floor, bed, and dresser. However, I did not scold them for the mess because it stayed within their room and they were playing together without bothering me much.
It became apparent to me that they believed they were in charge of the situation. The rule goes that if Mom has to pick it up then it goes in the "garbage." Which is really the garage. So when I reminded them that I can clean the room up super quick and throw their toys away, they passively said "It's too much." Then they lounged on their bed. They were done. They had no intention of cleaning. It seemed as if they were waiting for me to clean it all up.
So I did.
I shoved everything in to their bins. Scooped things off the floor and actually tossed them in the garbage. I gathered up ALL their toys, dolls, bears, games, and writing utensils. Not just the things on the floor, but EVERYTHING. They cried forced tears and didn't seem to care much. Blake even said to Reese, "Don't worry, if we're good then we'll get our toys back."
It hit me that when they whined about it being "too much" to clean, I realized that they have "too much" toys. All their toys were sitting next to the door waiting to leave the house. My garland's lights were twinkling behind them. Wrapping paper and gifts sat on the couch. It looked like we were moving, not celebrating Christmas or anticipating the arrival of Santa Clause. It feels like they are on the naughty list for sure. They don't appreciate or take care of their toys so why get any more.
I hid their toys in my closet for tonight. I don't want them waking up to see their toys still in the living room. It's pouring rain outside, and I just don't have the energy to make 5 trips down the stairs to the garage. And I'd like to hide them somewhere in the garage where they can't ever see them so they take me seriously.
I even purged their clothes. Putting their summer clothes to the side and getting rid of things they don't wear! Their room is very clean and their only entertainment are the books on the shelves.
So. Do I eventually give them back their toys or not? It'd be a shame to not have toys to play with as a child. Do I reward them with their own toys when they show me responsible and caring attitudes? Or do I just get them to the garage and we don't see them again? I need some suggestions and lots of advice. How do I get my kids to appreciate their things? Oh and another big question: Are they old enough to understand that if Santa doesn't come it's because they didn't clean their room? Do they even get that? Or will they go through life feeling entitled to anything they want.