Monday, February 12, 2007

Hands Off

In an effort to control toy hoarding and materialism in our family, I long ago instituted a 3-item "no-touching list." This means that each child, at any given time, can have 3 items--and only 3 items--that are so special to them that no other member of the family may use or touch them. Everything not on these lists, although they may officially "belong" to one child or another, is part of the general use collection of the playroom.

This has generally worked very well. New things make their way on the list, rotating older things off. The kids openly communicate with one another about what is most important to them and it keeps them from the rut of "everything is mine and you can't touch it." Periodically, they share their lists with one another and I have been surprised at the familiarity over time that each one has with the others' ever-changing lists.

Yesterday, as we were driving, Sam was poking and generally bothering Julia (age 3) in the back seat. She ended it all quite efficiently by stating, "Stop it, Sam. I'm on my no-touching list."

Works for me.

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