Toy Ransom Box Or Toy Jail: Method To Get Kids To Pick Up After Themselves

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Ever heard of a toy ransom box? There was some discussion of it here on the site recently when we were discussing how to get kids to pick up after themselves.


Toy ransom box, a.k.a toy jail. to help motivate kids to pick up after themselves of face a consequence {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
The idea is pretty self-explanatory. The kids leave out a toy, you have to pick it up, they have to do a chore to get it back. Until then you hold the toy ransom.

The idea was made popular with a blog post on Just Another Day in Paradise. In fact, she actually made a cute printable which you can see in many of these readers' photos. It includes a poem that you can put on your toy ransom box.

The photo above and also the one below are from a reader, Dawn, who said, "This works at my house." She went on to explain, "How cool to see my chore box on here!!! It's working well so far. Here's my son dusting to earn his DS back after leaving it lay on the couch. 5 kids live here. Ages 12, 9, 9, 8 & 7."

What do you think of this strategy to help kids learn to pick up after themselves? Does it seem harsh or absolutely perfect?

Also, if you've tried it I would love to hear how it worked for you, whether well or not.

Finally, if you've done any version of this toy jail, or a chore bucket or box, I would love to see your photos.

You can submit them here. The best photos will be featured here on the page. There are even more examples below that have already been submitted.

Here's the other photo Dawn referred to, where her son was dusting to get back some of his toys.

child dusting

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Chore Box For Getting Back Toys Not Put Away

by Casey

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Here's a picture from a reader, Casey, who has implemented this idea in her home using a cardboard banker box.

In addition, there's an envelope taped to the side which contains the chores needed to earn a toy back.

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This Has Worked Amazing For Us With Lots Of Kids In The Home

by Katrina

We have had ours a while. We have had 9 kids at one time that ranged from 3-17. And this was amazing for us.

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Ransom Bucket With Poem & Chores To Earn Them Back

by Erin

Erin provided this collage of her chore bucket. She said, "this has helped at our house."

Whether you implement this system or something else entirely I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to get your kids to pick up after themselves.

I think this is such an important skill for kids to learn how to do, not only to be functioning members of adult society, but also because it shows respect for their home even now.

If you've got ideas and tips share them below in the comments or show your system or tips here to be added to the site.

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Bedroom Cleaning Checklist: Help Kids Know Expectations For This Chore

How To Clean Anything Even If You're Not June Cleaver

Go From Toy Ransom Box For Kids To Home Page

Comments for Ransom Bucket With Poem & Chores To Earn Them Back

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made ours yesterday
by: Anonymous

I made our box yesterday. It really wasn't scary or a negative thing to my 8 yr old. She was happy about the chores. Not that she does them.

Way to Go Mom!
by: Anonymous

Great idea! As a retired kindergarten teacher I wish all parents would teach their children to pick up after themselves so others (i.e. teachers) wouldn't have to do it.

Clothes EVERYWHERE
by: Anonymous

I am starting this today. I am starting small since I am so horrible at follow through when it comes to teaching my kids to pick up after themselves.

I explained it to them this way. If I had to do YOUR job, you have to do MY job to get it back. And you still have to do your regular chores as well. Things that go in twice are double ransom. If it goes in a 3rd time-gone. And if it stays in for 2 weeks-gone. We shall see how it goes.

Socks Please
by: L. Jones

At about age seven, my daughter never had socks to wear to school. She's always ask, "Mom, Where my socks?" I could never find them either. Upon investigation, I found numerous dirty socks under her bed. SO, I began charging her 5 cents per sock. At the time this was a lot of money for a kid whose allowance was 50 cents per week. She thought I was the Meanest Mom in the World. But it solved the problem of "no socks to wear to school." It just might work for someone else, but I'd raise the price. This was all over 40 years ago. She now has grown daughters of her own.

great idea
by: Michele Adas-Williams

What a simply fantastic idea.

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