Friday, January 2, 2009

How To Train Your Children to Use The Shoe Shelf

I posted a few days ago about the sanity saving that has come from "the shoe shelf" as we call it.  Really it is a cottage locker, but you can read more about that in my other post.  But, I just realized I left out a key piece of the puzzle -- training your children to use the shoe shelf!  

I really want this blog to be practical, helpful, even.  We are busy, and if we are moms, we need help!  I really get frustrated when someone has a great idea, like you should floss your toddler's teeth, without telling me how exactly to implement the idea into my life.  I am doing good to brush my toddler's teeth! 

So back to the topic at hand.  After the newness of having their own cubby for their shoes wore off (in about 14 minutes) my kids resorted back to their old ways of leaving their shoes wherever they happened to take them off.  If your children are anything like mine, you will have to spend some time teaching them to use the shelf, but I promise that time will be redeemed when you can leave the house without the great hunt for lost shoes!  

Each of my children have different personalities and are different ages, so different methods have worked for each one.  For my toddler, he loves applause, so I would help him put his shoes on his shelf and then clap wildly and cheer for him.  He loved it!  Now I can just hand him his shoes and say, "Put them on your shelf," and he will carry them over, set them in his shelf, and then clap for himself!

For my 3 year-old, if I saw her shoes not on the shelf I would pretend like the shoes were crying and even imitate them crying, "We want to be on our shelf!  Please can't anyone help us!"  She begged me to do it over and over, but she would eagerly say, "I can help them!" and then put them on the proper shelf!  But, be ready, because after they are on the shelf, she will ask, "what are the shoes saying now?"  You must be ready to imitate the shoes being so happy they are on the shelf!

For my 5 year-old, he has the consequence of loosing privileges if he holds us up when leaving the house.  Through trial-and-error (learning the hard way) he has learned that it is wise to put your shoes on the shelf because then you will be able to find them when it is time to go and you will be able to keep your privilege to say, play your Leapfrog Leapster game.

Because I want to be very practical I will blog later about how we take away privileges and what privileges there are to take away from a 5 year-old.  This is a subject that would have sounded easy to me until I actually had to do it with my kids!