Friday, September 23, 2011

“Gunny Bag”

Get a big laundry bag and draw or sew a “face” on it, with the drawstring opening as the mouth. Introduce “Gunny Bag” to the kids and tell them that he lives in the attic and sometimes (you never know when) he comes down and EATS any toys and clothes that are left out. He comes back on Saturday morning and “regurgitates” the stuff, but if it doesn’t get put away right away, he eats it again.

When I introduced Gunny Bag, the kids formed an immediate love-hate relationship. They loved the fun and games, but they hated that he might eat their stuff.

The change was wonderful. I would come home and instead of the old pattern of yelling and lecturing the kids about neatness and spending a half hour supervising their forced clean up, we now had a fun new pattern: I would just say “Hey, do you hear that scratching noise upstairs….I think Gunny Bag is coming!” They would run around like crazy, putting all their toys and clothes in their places where Gunny Bag could not eat them. Gunny Bag would go from room to room, looking for something to eat, and crying and crying when he couldn’t find anything. The kids would laugh and laugh. (Sometimes it was the kids who would cry and cry when Gunny got to something and ate it before they could grab it out of harm’s way.) It was a game that everyone enjoyed over and over, and the house became much neater.

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