We have friends over a lot.Â And I am not going to lie to you, our house is a fantastic place to play.Â I mean, we have ALL the toys in the whole world, a dress up closet, and a play kitchen of awesome.Â Â So, I find that when it is time for friends to leave, they often have a very hard time with that.Â I take it as a compliment that we have so many tantrums right by our front door.
Anyway, I have completely eliminated front door tantrums.Â Whenever a kid starts to suggest (with that whine of Incoming Tantrum Doom in their voice) that they really would rather NOT clean up and get ready to leave, I happen to mention at that moment that a lot of the time, I give prizes to kids that leave nicely.
It works every time.Â New kids are intrigued by this possibility.Â Kids who have been here before know that I am telling the truth.Â Shoes get put on immediately, jackets are zipped, and sometimes they even help clean up a little.
I have a shoebox full of
random junk that will end up lost under your car seats toys.Â I also have a box of lollipops and I alternate which one I bring out.Â (It usually depends on whether it is before or after lunch.)Â The box of toys is just random stuff that I have collected over many years.Â (I’ve actually had some of it since long before Elizabeth because it doubles as our trick-or-treat box when Halloween rolls around.)Â I have things like spinning tops, erasers (pumpkin shaped, like I said- Halloween), bookmarks, stickers, crayons, and kids’ meal toys.Â Whenever any random junk comes into our possession, I put it in this box.Â Most of our birthday party treat bags end up in here too.Â It’s like the treasure box that you get a prize from at the end of the dentist visit.
I always inform the kids that the deal is that they only get to keep their prize if they get into their car seat and get buckled nicely.Â They can choose now, but if they don’t get into their seat nicely, I get it back.Â Most kids take at least a few minutes to choose exactly which
piece of junk magical treasure they want and we often have to have negotiations over whether they ought to get to choose two pieces.Â (Sometimes I say yes.)Â Elizabeth believes strongly that she ought to be included in this ritual of prize choosing, so she always gets one too.Â (Oddly, whatever she chooses disappears almost immediately and is miraculously back in the box the next time she goes to choose.)
And there you have it.Â A guaranteed way to rid your house of (almost all of) the small children around.