How to Get Kids to Pick Up Their Toys During the Holiday Season
Many of you have seen me at my post about life at Imperial Trailer Village, a leading RV park in Los Angeles. What you may not know is that in a previous career, I taught elementary school, with a specialty in grades Kindergarten through 3rd. Most people don’t quite know what really happens in these classrooms, and imagine it in the worst-case scenario, like the first day for Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Kindergarten Cop.” It can be that way on some days, for sure!
Many years ago, as a student teacher in a kindergarten classroom, I was having a tough day. It was too wet to go outdoors, and all the children were climbing all over one another. I found myself being irritable, and so we took a short break and decorated our classroom for the holiday season. Paper chains took form and before I knew it, everyone was in a much better mood.
I’d been gifted a holiday clock and decided to hang it up to complete the décor. Within a few moments of hanging this clock, it played a short snippet of a Christmas carol. I realized that the music would be going on the hour each day and pledged right then to find a way to shut that off. As often happens with children, they surprised me. They froze, quickly scanned the room, and one of them cried, “It’s Santa’s elves! Everyone clean up so they will tell Santa that we’re being good.”
Boom! Before I knew it, I had 26 energetic 5– and 6–year olds scrambling and rushing to sit cross-legged on the carpet. This created a tradition that has endured for many years in my annual holiday decorations. For the children, the playing of the Christmas carol was completely random, so they worked hard to do their best since they never knew when a little elf may be watching.
The key to pulling this off is to put the clock near a window since the elves are always watching from there and playing music to say, “Hello!”
At home, when I had my own kiddos, I bought another of these magic positive behavior tools and my kiddos were as enamored with it. Seeing children hear a little tune and the excitement that they feel in the holidays (and the regular reminders to tidy up) is one of my favorite parts of the holiday!
If you have other fun ways to keep the magic in the holiday season, please stop in and let us know at our amazing trailer park in Los Angeles.