Parenting: How to get kids to pack up

I used to struggle a lot in the past to get the kids to pack up. Until one day, I saw this billiant idea on Pinterest, and it worked for me too! It’s called “Ransom Box”.

I’m not sure about others. But for our family, before the “Ransom Box” was introduced, we always threaten the kids that the items (toys, books, etc) will be thrown away if the kids don’t keep it (there was one occassion that Chubby really threw some toys away ). However, this is not a good method as most times we just threaten, and it is not environmental and pocket friendly to be throwing toys away like that. So when I saw the idea of “Ransom”, I think it is a better option.

The “Ransom Box” works by putting items, that is left lying around by the kids, into the “Ransom Box”. And it will be held “ransom” until the kids do something to redeem it. Usually a household chore. But do note that chores within their “scope of work”, are not considered. For example, the kids don’t get to redeem items from the box if they say put their own dishes into the basin after meal, or making their own bed, etc. It has to be something extra.

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I chose a big and transaparent “Ransom Box” so that even bigger size toys can fit in and the kids can see what is inside.

If you search around the Internet, they usually put a notice on the “Ransom Box” explaining to the kids what happened. But when I started this, my kids were barely 5 and 3.5 y.o.  They couldn’t read well. So I sat them down, told them about the rules and place the ransom box in a very obvious place as a reminder (very much like red light camera on the road).

Tip: Do remember to inform all adults (including domestic helper) about it. If there is anyone who packs up for them, or unknowingly takes out the items from the box, the method will not work.

For us, the kids’ cousin come over on weekends, so the same applies to them. If they leave the items around, I would help them pack up but they will have to do a household chore at their own house in return (I make my SIL take video as proof to show me. Oh the wonders of technology. LOL). So going home doesn’t mean they get away with it.

The first week, we implemented it, the ransom box got filled quickly. The kids got around to helping me clean up their younger brother (they particularly hated cleaning his poo) and the house too. The cousins got to help bring out the dirty rubbish to the common rubbish chute. Bascially, think of chores that they will not willingly do. So after a while, they realize it’s easier to just pack up.

Nowadays, all I need to do is say “I think I need to bring out the ransom box…”, and they will rush before me to pack up their toys. There isn’t a need for constant nagging, isn’t it great? Our ransom box has been empty for about a year already. But it is still there as a reminder.

Tip: In order for younger kids to help pack, the toys must be arranged for easy packing. 

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We love these shelves as it allow us to organise the kids toys easily. Each box holds a different category of things (e.g. Peppa Pig, Cars, Poli, Musical Toys, Playdoh, Lego, board/card games, etc). The kids just need to dump them in the correct box and thats it. Something even my 3 y.o. nephew can do it easily. Ok, we don’t have the neatest or prettiest looking shelves, but it does its job and is not too messy.

So how do you get your kids to pack up after they are done?

*P.S. This is not a sponsored post. You don’t have to get the exact model of shelves or ransom box. The idea is to have a big ransom box so it can hold most of the toys. And toy storage that helps in packing.

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5 thoughts on “Parenting: How to get kids to pack up

  1. Haha.. ransom box! I basically tell my kids that they can’t have another toy or move on to another activity, be it reading, tv or go out unless they clean up whatever they were using before that. It works well so far 🙂

  2. I face this issue of not packing up on and off. Now that my younger one seem to like packing up, the older one is somehow “pressured” to do the same. Hehe! I might try this ransom box technique and see if it works for us, especially for the older one. 🙂

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