So, habit training has always been an issue for us. Impulse control, in this house, seems to develop between 8-12. It takes YEARS to instill the simplest of habits, it seems. Add to that, my desire is to instill them by relying on a child's natural desire to do right, without relying heavily on rewards or punishments. IRL, teens will not find rewards and punishments awaiting at every turn. I'd rather they not learn to rely on that. My 10 and 15 yr olds are just learning to enjoy work done for its own sake (of course the 15 yr old has nearly mastered it while the other one is just starting out... naturally.)
Anyway, my husband wants to know when my little ones will learn to respect personal property. He (justifiably) gets tired of them ones destroying headphones, remotes and such. I blamed it on the glut of twaddly, junk toys overflowing my home. He wants a clean home. I want a clean home. The toddlers and preschoolers want to play with one thing for a few seconds, toss it down and move on to the next! So a few days ago I had enough and cleared out all twaddly toys (except Rescue Bots, which I confess to loving).
Two days later, I watched the "ninja twins" play quietly with dolls for nearly an hour! After they finished, and I finished scraping my jaw off the floor, my five year old picked up toys by herself, no prompts! Then she looked at me and said, "I'm starting to really LIKE my toys!" Is it really that easy? Should I have followed my instincts years ago with my older two? Was the junk crowding out the lesson of caring for property (ours and others')? I think so... and now, I know what rules to have for the holidays at my house:
I want them to have just enough toys to enjoy and not feel that the toys have them. No more dolls, especially the kind that "do" things! I want them to build relationships with their dolls like a real mommy, not have so many that they can toss them aside easily! No more "smart" toys that do the thinking and playing for the child. I want toys that build skills, that develop character and imagination. I want toys that feed and satisfy the soul! No more "My Little Fashion Doll Princess of Glamour" ;) I want REAL things for my children!
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