Years ago when I was a starving college student I babysat for a family with a sweet little girl named Ashley. Ashley was really well behaved, particularly when it came to cleaning up after herself. No sooner had she finished an activity than she was promptly tidying her play area before heading on to the next thing. When I asked her mom how she got Ashley to be so diligent about cleaning up her stuff, she told me Ashley was afraid of the Toy Police.
You see, Ashley’s parents told her from a young age that the Toy Police stopped by every night to check and see if little kids left their stuff out. If they found anything out, the Toy Police would take it away. She was only four at the time and I imagine this ruse didn’t work forever, but it did teach her the habit of cleaning up after herself and I thought I’d create my own version to help you get your toddler to clean up. I call it, Toy Jail!
The idea is simple. If my kids leave something out, it goes in Toy Jail. If they want to get it back they have to do a chore to retrieve it or, for theme-sake, a “bail bond”. Do you think this will work with your kids? Comment below and let me know! ~Rachel
Use our Free Printables for the Toy Jail Sign and the Bail Bond tickets. Make up your own age-appropriate chores for your kids to do to get their stuff back. I have a sneaking suspicion this would work or older kids too… just age the chores up!