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Why my kids lost their toys

Today, my children lost their toys.  I'd had enough...the screaming, fighting, throwing, hitting, talking back, and more.  I've threatened to take toys away before, but never quite done it.  Now, I have.  I have to say, I don't know why I didn't do it sooner.  My kids finally realized, I wasn't bluffing.

Yes, there were a few tears when the favorite animal went bye-bye.  There was grabbing onto my legs as I carried the laundry baskets (there were six of them) away.  But, eventually, my kids gave in and we had a talk about why the toys were taken away.  The outcome: my kids realized that they hadn't been listening and obeying.

As I filled the first few basket full of toys, I was so frustrated that my kids cannot seem to focus on a simple task of picking up their toys before meal times or bedtime.  This has been a consistent battle in our house.  I ask them to pick up their toys, they start to do it, but in the end, they end up making an even larger mess by taking out more toys that they want to play with.  So, these clean up times usually consist of my kids and I being at odds against each other.  These are not pleasant times for any of us.

As I continued to fill up baskets of toys and haul them away, I realized something.  My kids don't really have the opportunity to focus because they are overstimulated by the abundance that surrounds them.  We have toys everywhere!  And, for the most part, our house is filled with toys that are creative and innovative for my children to learn.  However, focus is something that is cultivated with maturity.  Not everyone has the same capability to focus, but I believe it's - in part - a learned skill. 

My children see me multitasking with my work on a daily basis.  Their work is play.  So, they attempt to imitate the same multitasking.  I'm not showing my children what focus means through my own life.  I'm also not giving them an atmosphere that allows them to focus by having every single one of their toys out at the same time.  Their attention spans are limited so, of course, they're going to continually switch from one toy to the next.  And, when there are a gazillion toys to choose from, they may continually switch toys - never being given an atmosphere that forces them to focus on just a few things at a time.

Now, don't get too upset with me, I didn't toss out the toys.  They're still here in my house, but I've chosen to limit what is in front of them at any given point in time so that I can better cultivate their focus.  In the short time the toys have been gone, we've had less arguments about cleaning up, throwing toys, and all of the other battles that led to them "losing" their toys.  My children are learning to do without everything at their fingertips. I'm also working on stretching this concept into my own life and looking at the abundance that I have around me.  Hopefully this allows me to model focus within my own life.

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