My son is 7-years-old and he’s a good kid. He listens well, has a kind disposition and is pretty organized (naturally, right? Read this post about the organizing gizmo he designed when he was in preschool.) But he had one annoying habit: Every day he would come home from school and fling his backpack and coat on the floor, even though he had his own hooks at his height in the closet for those things.
At first I found myself nagging him over and over to put those things away. That never seemed to work. Months later I was still tripping over the coat in the kitchen each evening.
Then one day I told him I was going to charge him 25 cents every time he left his backpack or coat on the floor. Twenty-five cents for EACH item. Nathan was a little incredulous at first, but the very next day when he flung his stuff down on the floor, I casually told him that he now owed me two quarters. He was so shocked! But he paid up. And since then he’s been really good about putting his backpack and coat away. I think I’ve only collected 75 cents from him total.
As an epilogue to this story, I might add that last month he charged ME 25 cents when I left my coat on the back of the dining room chair after I got home from work! Boy, did he have a gleeful look on his face when he told me that. I paid up. It was only fair.
Do you struggle to get your kids to put their things away after school? What works for you? Let me know what you think of my policy.
Image of me and Nathan. Why do moms always end up holding all the coats and bags whenever we go somewhere?