Last month I did a fairly big reorganise and sort of the toy area in the living room. There were some immediate benefits, which included the girls playing with toys they’d forgotten about, and broken toys being thrown away rather than causing upset.
They’re still enjoying playing with toys and games they’ve forgotten about and their latest thing is playing with all the ponies and dinosaurs and creating some rather complex-sounding (I don’t listen intently, I have to admit, just catch the odd part of a conversation) live stories with them. Sometimes it seems that they are just playing out normal family life with them (“It’s time to go to bed now. Let’s read a story.” “Breakfast time!” “OK. Now it’s time to go to school”), but at other times they have adventures (“Today we’re going to go to the South Pole.” “Don’t move! I’ll come and rescue you!”). This is lovely to witness and there seem to be a few less arguments (mostly because I think RoRo has all the ponies and LaLa has all the dinosaurs, and they can play separately and come together now and then, rather than get all tied in knots about who is making the decisions). But it’s been rather annoying to have to negotiate a floor covered in (often intricately organised) small animals and try very hard not to tread on and break any of them.
This morning, however, I popped my head round the living room door to tell the girls that they had five minutes before they would have to put their shoes on and discovered them tidying up. All the blankets and cushions on the floor were put away (the blankets not terribly neatly, but that’s hard for me, even), as were the tents. The desk and chair were put back where they go. And then, the best bit of all for me… LaLa put all the animals back in their basket (and the dinosaurs back in their bucket). But not only did she do that; she also put the basket back on the shelf in the right place. Sadly, it was a little spoiled by RoRo putting her animals in a messy pile on the sofa (to her, if the floor is clear, then the room must be tidy) and then having a minor meltdown about LaLa putting the animals away, because they were her ‘collection’. I did manage to explain to her that she shouldn’t tell LaLa off for doing something good like that, but she could express that she was upset about it and why. Hopefully that sunk in!
The point of this rambling post, however, is that one of the benefits of having very organised toys is that the children are more likely to tidy up – because they know where everything goes and it’s easy to access. Yay! (Now, I really should do the rest of the house some time this year.)