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Does your toddler destroy things? How do you handle it?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My 22 month old constantly dumps things and climbs on tables and just makes a general mess.  He's a generally happy little guy, but loves making a mess. He won't "play" with toys, just throws them or dumps out bins or pulls things out of cabinets. 


I've never had to block off rooms before and I have 4 children, but maybe I need restrict his access more.  Do you have a "safe room" for your toddler?  All I do when he is awake is follow him picking up his messes and trying to head off disasters.  It's becoming impossible to do anything like cook a meal or fold laundry when he's awake.

post #2 of 8
I think almost all toddlers do this?? Usually it's a phase, my DS is 2.5 and has mostly outgrown it (though he still has his days!) and now gets upset when other kids dump things out & make a big mess. So I would just do whatever you need to do to get through the next few months or however long 'til he outgrows it. Maybe some baby-proofing of drawers/cabinets? And a safe room is a good idea too.

What actually helped us the most was cutting way down on the amount of toys we had out & making everything super organized. Since DS didn't (and still doesn't) really play with the toys, there was no need to have a bunch out. We have a few small baskets in our main living area and that's about it... there are more toys in his room (just a playroom since he doesn't sleep there) but he hardly uses it... however, that's the room I try not to care about if it gets messy, since it's out of the way. And having small boxes or baskets for everything seemed to encourage him to keep it more organized and he doesn't have to dig or dump to find something. Also, we store books vertically in small sections rather than large sections or horizontal stacks... makes it easier to pick one out without knocking over the rest.
post #3 of 8

My 22 month old is pretty messy.  :)  My other two children were fairly messy as toddlers as well, but my youngest definitely likes to explore.  I have a giant playroom for her and the rest of the house is baby-proof.  She is pretty cute though.  Just yesterday she noticed that the cookie she was eating was soft, so she mashed it apart.  Once it was mashed into a pile of crumbs, she happily wiped it onto the floor.  Then she looked into her hands and began to cry that her cookie was "all gone." 


I think it's pretty normal to have a difficult time accomplishing chores with a toddler around.  Eventually they outgrow it though.

post #4 of 8

The thing about my 22 month old DD is that dumping objects out and moving them around IS the play. We have a lot of baskets and drawers for her toys and I move things in and out about once a week to keep it interesting. I tell her that I'm cleaning and she follows right along throwing toys into bins and boxes.


Our living room and bedroom is 100 percent friendly and safe to her, well unless you count her overuse of gravity. If i need to cook and she is in a good mood I just let her go and keep her in my sightline every couple of minutes. She dumps out blocks and steps on them, stacks them and if I'm lucky she'll throw them back in the container it came from. But most of the time she wanders off into something else and I follow along later and scoop things up.


We have stuffed animals stashed in fun places, cabinets with some basic toys, books on the coffee table, some hats and play shoes, and a bucket full of balls. Between that and the cats she just bops around putting her little animals on things and mixing objects randomly to amuse herself.


But yah, she makes a total mess. I'm not sure what you mean by "destroy" but I will comment that if she rips a book or breaks a toy I take it out of her area for repair or toss it if it is beyond mending. I don't like for her to get the idea that it is OK to rip up a book or be harsh with delicate objects.


I try to keep things in the main floor area tidy but it doesn't always happen. I tidy up before her nap and DH does a complete Roomba pre-clean after she goes to sleep at night. Once everything has a home it is easier for DD to put things back but she doesn't always do it.



post #5 of 8

Our family friend nicknamed our dd "Tazmania" (as in the Tasmanian Devil), lol. She's that bad. She's so stinking cute that for a long time she was getting away with it. Then about a week ago I was so exasperated just from a whole series of things that day and I started yelling at both kids to clean up NOW. I guess I sounded really serious....anyway, she came over and hustled her little butt picking up every single crayon and marker off the floor, put them away in the right container, and even picked up some stray papers and threw them in the trash. It took her about 3 minutes. that was when I realized that she understands and is capable of a whole lot more than I was expecting from her.


She is still wild.....Just today alone she has: peed on my living room floor, on purpose, shorted out her dad's cell phone charger by sticking it in her mouth (I blame him for that because he should have put it away), dumped a plate of carrots and salad dressing on the floor, poured a cup of soymilk out on the front porch, just to watch it fall through the cracks, dumped out a cup of water on the kitchen floor, colored on herself with marker (and bit the tips off two of them before I could grab her), flushed a hair elastic down the toilet, and threw the washrags that I was drying on the back railing OVER the railing to the yard below.


Nothing terribly heinous. She will play with her toy kitchen, her dolls, or her brother's trucks decently. But what she really loves is to get into things. I'm trying to get into a more consistent habit of following through with making HER put things back that she's taken out, now that I know she's capable of it.

post #6 of 8

I think it's normal toddler behavior. :)


I try to restrict the amount of toys my son has access to. Most of his toys are put away in the closet. I think children play better and develop longer attention spans when they have limited toys.


If your son loves dumping, maybe a sensory table would channel the urge more properly? He can fill, dump, and pour to his heart's content.



post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

These are fantastic ideas!  Thank you so much!  I DO have too many toys available for the little ones to play with and don't rotate often enough.  He wanders around aimlessly tearing things up probably because he's bored.  The sensory table sounds great too, but I'm afraid dumping would be right onto my carpet.  Sounds pretty messy for my 22 month old.

post #8 of 8

I don't know if your kiddo eats coins still, but today I was frying ish and dd was being a butt, and in desperation I grabbed an empty oatmeal container, cut a slit in the bottom, and gave her a little saucer full of pennies. After a couple of tries she sat there sticking pennies through the slot for quite a while. Now I have seen her reject two seperate toys that were designed for this.....but apparently the oatmeal container was superior, lol. I find this a lot. This morning the kids spent almost an hour "constructing" with cut up egg cartons. The part where you put the eggs can be cut out individually and they stack like blocks. Real legos, however, she just scatters all over the floor. I don't know, I might have weird kids, but if nothing is keeping yours occupied, you might try some household items instead of toys and see where it gets you!

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