At playtime: “In this house we put all the toys back (in the toy chest/on the shelves/in the crates) when we are done playing.” You can then reward the cleaner-uppers with a treat, such as an ice pop or lollipop. (Avoid another mess by offering the treat as they are walking out the door.)
Not every parent appreciates another’s tough-love approach towards his or her child, but I’d take a chance on it. The worst thing that can happen is that they take offense and hesitate to come again, or it will dawn on the little troublemaker that you are not as soft on him as is his own mom and dad. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
* * * * *
We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to email@example.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.