I need your assistance. I live on the top floor of a lovely triple decker with two small children. Despite my efforts, they often drop things off the porch! I worry for the safety of my neighbors and also their peace of mind. I hate to think of them enjoying a quiet interlude only to see a stuffed animal come flying past!
What to do? How to raise a perfectly proper child - at least while on the porch?
Dear Trouble on the Top Floor:
“You must make her stop it!” Mrs. Meriwether says to Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind when he asks her how to keep Bonnie from sucking her thumb. And today’s stuffed animal could be tomorrow’s bucket of floor wax. You must make them stop it!
These two methods might aid you. Make your back porch a Toy Free Zone. Toys can’t fly over the railing if they can’t even get near it. To reinforce the consequences of one’s actions, you could also make the children go all the way downstairs to retrieve what they threw, no matter when you discover it. That might also be tough on you, especially if there’s something on the stove or (worst case scenario) the children are already asleep in bed. But Etiquetteer hopes that only a few instances of this would make the point that Toy Tossing is not to be tolerated.
Etiquetteer knows one household which has a strict rule about keeping things tidy. Whenever a toy is found someplace it shouldn’t be - for instance, on the floor under a parent’s foot - it is simply thrown away. It doesn’t matter what it is: a favorite doll, a book, a very rare piece of a Lego kit. If it’s left lying around, the child clearly doesn’t care about it, and out it goes! Are your children engaged in keeping their belongings tidy? It’s not too soon to start.
Etiquetteer wishes you strength and patience as you embark on this new era of Keeping Toys Earthbound. The results will, Etiquetteer knows, be worth it!