Helping Kids Let Go of Their Toys
If clean-up time has become a battle, then it might be time to get rid of some of the toy clutter. Here are some tips for encouraging children to part with their possessions.
Walking into my four-year-old daughter's room can be stress-inducing. There are pointy, pink Barbie shoes just waiting to be stepped on, half-dressed baby dolls where she dropped them mid-play, plastic food items piled up in the corner and countless other items she is no longer playing with, but hasn't bothered to pick up.
When there's an abundance of toys, there can be an abundance of whining when it comes to cleaning up the mess. In order to keep your sanity and show your child that less is more, it's often necessary to get rid of some of the clutter.
But because children's toys are their treasures, it can often be a difficult and tear-filled process. Here are some suggestions for helping your child part with their possessions and keep the clutter at bay.
1. Prepare them for letting go of their toys
Walking into a child's bedroom with a large cardboard box and announcing that everything must go is not always the best strategy (no matter how frustrated you have become over the mess). Children are less likely to feel out of control (have a meltdown) if they know what's going to happen.
Try having a family meeting or talking to the child over the dinner table about letting go of their toys. Explain that they will have more room to play when some of the toys they don't play with are cleared out.
2. Don't get rid of toys right away
If your child is having a particularly difficult time parting with some of their belongings, then try just putting the toys in another location for a while before getting rid of them. The attic has become our friend when it comes to encouraging clutter-free living. Most of the time they don't even remember the toy exists. There have been a few occasions where my husband has had to make a trek into the attic to retrieve a certain teddy bear or doll, but most of the time there's no real fuss.
3. Encourage them to donate their toys
While living a simpler life is a great thing to teach kids, it is also important to teach them to give to others. Explain to your child that there are other children who don't have as many toys as they do, and they would love some of their gently-loved toys. Encourage them to think about what they'd like to give and take them with you to donate the items.
This mom created a Santa bag
with a special note from Santa himself encouraging the children to fill the bag with unused toys for needy children.
4. Help them sell their stuff
Older kids might enjoy being able to sell their stuff when they've decided to let it go. You could help them set up a table at a family garage sale or visit a consignment shop.
for a list of consignment and resale shops in the area.
5. Memorialize special items
Saying goodbye to treasured toys can be difficult for children. This mom
suggests taking a picture of the special toy, framing it and hanging it in the child's room. This helps the child remember the item without it adding to the clutter.
Whatever way you choose to get rid of toys, remember to take it slow and let the child be a part of the process. They will feel in control and you will have less of a mess.
Back To Top
About the Author
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.