We love learning from our clients! On a recent appointment with a client, Dana noticed a mid-sized bag on the floor of the kitchen pantry. She asked what it contained and the client said “Oh, that’s the Bye-Bye Bag!”
This is a great technique for holding her kids accountable for cleaning up their play space. Here how the “Bye-Bye Bag” technique works:
- When it’s time to pickup the playroom give the kids a set time to get the job done.
- If they refuse or the time is coming to a close, remind the kids that any toys they choose not to put away will go into the “Bye-Bye Bag.”
- The Bye-Bye Bag holds toys for 1 week. At any point during the week they can go into it and choose to put a toy away but at the end of the week anything left in the bag gets donated.
Here are 5 keys to making it actually work:
Make cleanup easy (and possible!). Have accessible, simple homes for toys to be put away. It’s hard for kids to cleanup if shelves and bins are stuffed and jumbled.
Make A Routine. Setting a regular time in the day linked to an event that always happens (teeth brushing?) helps create an expectation for children. For example, have toy pickup always be 15 minutes before teeth brushing time.
Be Consistent! You don’t have to break out the bag 100% of the time for cleanups but address the reluctant behavior consistently so kids understand that it’s part of the routine.
Be Firm but Kind. The point of the exercise is to teach responsibility and accountability. Putting away toys is their choice, but there are consequences to the choices they make. This is a very important life lesson! Using the Bye-Bye bag doesn’t have to be threatening or mean, just a simple consequence for their choice.
Follow Through. The power of this technique only stays effective if toys actually do go “bye-bye.” If they aren’t retrieved from the bag in a week’s time, out they go! To ensure prompt follow-through keep the bag somewhere you’ll remember.
Have a question about how to apply this in your home? Or do you have a variation that has worked well for you? Share it here!