My kids have too many toys, dolls and stuffed animals. They are ages 10, 7, 4, and 1. For the older three kids can I just get rid of things without their knowing, or do I need to talk to them about it, and tell them they need to choose 5 things? What are some suggestions?
They can't keep their rooms clean, because there's too much stuff in them. I wish I could just give half of it all away. LOL!
Thank you for your question.
Oh, how the stuff does multiply! That is what comes to my mind every time I look in my kid’s room, so I can relate. As a parent you know your kids best. As a parent you need to do what is in their best interest and this includes the ‘stuff’ that occupies space in the home/rooms.
My rule of thumb is “everything has a home” meaning all toys, dolls, and stuffed animals should have a place to be when it isn’t being played with at the moment. That could either be a toy box, placed on the bed/headboard, dresser, etc. It certainly does not mean being on the floor or common area in the home. If it doesn’t have a home then it doesn’t belong in my home.
You can tackle this by being very simple, straight to the point with little explanation. For example, “Kids, it is time we donate some of your toys, dolls and stuffed animals. You may choose to keep X amount.” If the older ones start to question or complain you many need to give a little more information, but keep the conversation to telling them what to do and not asking for their permission. Remember you are the parent and doing what is in the best interest for them.
Before making the announcement do a couple of things first.
1) Make sure there is a ‘home’ for the items the kids will keep. Meaning decide if are you okay/not okay with items being on the dresser or bed or bookcase. If they don’t have a toy box, look into getting something. Maybe shelving needs to be put in the room(s).
2) Choose the charity before hand. Know exactly what you are going to do with the stuff that the kids are going to get rid of.
3) Decide on the number of items each child can keep and stick with it.
Lastly, have all the kids go through their stuff at the same time. Designate a ‘keep’ location of the X number of things they want to keep. Have the kids put the rest of the items in boxes/large plastic bags that you will immediately put in the car/garage to be taken to the charity.
The great thing about this whole process is you are TEACHING your kids many lessons. Like how to clean up, to how to be organized, and to having a giving heart.
And now for the BIGGER point….
The items in the ‘keep’ location make sure each child understands where it is acceptable that those items be when not being played with. Have each child take each item and place it in there designated ‘home’; either toy box, bed or shelving. Once each of the items are ‘home’ now is the time to show/explain; “This is a clean room and when you are to clean your room this is how it should look.”
Tip… decide beforehand when the kids will need to clean their room. If that is every day, a designated time, once a week whatever is acceptable to you.
Happy cleaning and relish in the hard work of being able to breathe when you look into your kids rooms when it is all said and done.
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
Subscribe To Get More From ParentGuru
Subscribers enjoy access to all questions and answers.