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what do you do with unwanted toys?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone, I'm pretty new here, so nice to hear others with questions and answers! Mine is this: what do you do with toys your child gets that you don't agree with? I try to limit the number of toys my 5yr old has. Most are open ended, natural, classic or fall into some catagory I like, but then, she gets barbies, videos, etc. from her relatives. They know we don't like them, but they think it's kind of funny to see our reaction, plus, I don't think they think there's anything wrong with her playing with them. I've made some "disappear", and usually my daughter doesn't even know they're gone. Others, like the box of barbies, gets a little attention. It's interesting, she seems to like the idea of Barbie better than really playing with her. If someone asks her what she would like for x-mas, she'll say barbie, but I never see her play barbie by herself. She usually only pulls them out if another girl is over to play. Tonight someone asked her what kind of music she liked, and she said "barbie"! What's that mean??? I think she knows there's this idea out there that girls are supposed to like pink and play with barbie, but she's not fully sucked in yet.
Anyway, sorry to ramble on about "HER" !! I'm also interested in everyone's decisions...do you let your kids play with whatever, hoping your opinions influence them, let them have a little of the undesired toys to keep a balance, throw the junk out immediately, allow them to play with it once in awhile, or play with it for a certain time and then get rid of it? Just wondering... thanks everyone!
Peace, Megan
post #2 of 18
Sometimes the grandparents go overboard and get her way too many toys. Instead of returning them, I take them to the women's shelter. They are in desperate need of toys for the kids who come in. The toys are so battered and beaten there.

So far we haven't gotten objectionable toys. But I will tell my family not to get her Barbies and such. It's tough. I need to think about what I want her to play with. It's important to me, but on the other hand, I don't want to make it a big deal. We are already dealing with so many "big deals" that occasionally I'll let something slide.
post #3 of 18
I have donated some electronic toys to the "Y" and also recently took some to a cool consignment store.......maybe they'll make me some $$ for DS spring wardrobe! MIL has blatantly told me she doesn't care what I like or want-she'll do what she pleases--fine...so will I!
post #4 of 18
post #5 of 18
We do monitor dd's toys, but now that she is 3, it's more difficult because she'll open a gift and know she wants to play with it before dh and I can whisk it off to the closet! The closet (or "Toy Hell" hee hee) toys usually get returned to Toys R Us for credit that we'll use at a later date for other things (now that Toys R Us bought out Imaginarium they actually have wooden trains and other higher-quality toys).

That said, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised this year, because she got two really offensive toys (to me, anyway), and after playing with them nonstop for a day or two, she simply lost interest. One of them was the world's most hideous doll, which came with a pacifier and a bottle which the doll could hold herself and suck on, and it also burped, giggled, and said some words. Ugh. The other was a Fisher-Price guitar/violin toy that had no real strings, just plastic things that you touched to make "music." I think we'll just donate these!
post #6 of 18
We allow Barbies and videos, but we still have to get rid of toys because we just have too many toys. My kids play better, are happier, and pick up better when they have fewer toys.

I get rid of anything that is broken and can't be fixed, missing parts, etc.

I also get rid of toys that they don't play with anymore and won't notice. I sneak these out and don't discuss them with the kids. I usually put them in a box in the garage for a while just to make sure that they are really done with them. It is amazing to me what I have "disappeared" and the kids have never mentioned again -- even a ball pit!

My kids help me give toys that they have outgrown but are still in good shape to younger kids we know. They are fine with giving their baby toys to babies.

Part of my issue is that I don't want the toys to become a power issue between me and my kids. I don't want them to grow up feeling like I was always taking their toys away. I'm trying to find a way to keep the toys at a resonable level and yet treat my kids' feelings with respect.

As far as the extended family, I finally explained to my mom that we are really maxed out and that every toy that enters our house means that a toy has to leave. I asked her to really consider this when buying new things for my kids. May be if you can nicely explain about dropping the Barbies off at the local battered women's shelter (or wherever) it would make it a lot less funny. It is really too bad that your family isn't willing to treat your feelings with respect

BTW, I think asking a 5 year what kind of music they like is a little odd. What sort of answer were they expecting?
post #7 of 18
I guess it depends on how strongly I feel abt the toy in ?

For christmas dd received this doll that as soon as I went to take it out of its box, the head popped off, and wires came out of the styrofoam stuffed body! It also came with a stroller that fell apart after 20 min or so of use. I threw that away, but didn't mention anything to dd abt it. She never rea;;y asked for it, to me that was just pure junk!

We have a VERY small house, so I do feel the need to weed stuff out of here occassionally. Luckily my mother has a huge home, and invites me to bring some of dd's stuff there, either to store in the attic, or to keep in the playroom, so dd has things to play with there. DD is ok with this too. She doesn't mind things going to gmoms.

The things I find offensive I would not donate to a shelter. I volunteer at one, and the last thing they need is cheap electronic, noisy, battery operated toys! It is a large room filled with beds, so there is no privacy, and if the children have noisy toys with flashing lights, ect, it just disturbs everyone. Also when the batteries die, the toy is no good anymore, bc the shelter doesn't have a supply of batteries for this purpose. I only try to donate things I would want my own child to have, which means we generally just pick things up I see on sale ect.

It doesn't suprise me to see that some of you have families that don't respect your wishes. Mine don't either really. It seems to me that toy buying for people is fun, and they are going to get the child what looks fun to them, regardless of the parents wishes. DD got so many toys for christmas, I told mil that she reallly doesn't need anymore for her bday which is this month. A membership somewhere, clothing, anything like that would be great. Her response, "oh no, she has to have toys, more toys!"

Oh well. Sorry this was so long winded
post #8 of 18
I wouldn't want to take away a toy that one of my children really liked, but they usually quickly lose interest in the bad toys and then I make them disappear by taking them to the recycling center. There's a trailer devoted to odd junk there.

This year, 9 y.o. ds got a violent computer game for Christmas from his uncle. It's rated M for mature. I took it away immediately, and we ended up buying him an acceptable game. I'm not sure if buying him something else was the right thing to do but I felt bad about taking away a brand new gift. I'm really mad at my BIL for this. He's a pediatrician and should know better. And I bet he would never have bought this game for his own kids. I wanted to say something, but dh said no, we don't want to hurt his feelings.
post #9 of 18
I think returning that video game was completely appropriate. Dh works for a company that makes video games, and he goes crazy when people don't abide by the ratings system. We recently saw a game rated "M" in one of those kiddie haircutting places, and he was shocked that they even had it there. Letting a 9 year old play an "M" game is like letting him see an R rated movie. Perhaps his uncle just didn't notice the rating?
post #10 of 18
Most people around here are good about not gettin dds crap. My mom hpwever is horrible. For one she doesn't understand our space restrictions. for a while we had four people liveing in a house that was 400 sq. feet. We didn't have room to sleep much less for mountains of plastic crap. Now we live somewhere bigger but we still have so much. Finally I convinced my mom to just send money and tell me what to buy (she never visits ) Because after all "If you aren't spending $50 on shipping then I can buy them more". This year she bought them and easel, art supplys, tinker toys and clothes for thier dolls. Good job mom!!

MIL has better taste and a real desire to get people what they want. SIL runs things by me for approval (although she has fabulous taste and always gets them wonderful things) which is very thoughtful.

When we do get something inappropriate we either just let it go because we know she won't play with it or it will break soon, we put it on the rummage, or take it back if we made it home without opening it. The video game would have definitly gone back. It is not something he could play anyway. You did him a favor by taking it back and getting him one he could enjoy.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Phew, it is so good hearing other parents dealing with this issue. Our family did a big clean out yesterday and dd was really great about getting rid of the toys she doesn't play with. And I made a few disappear that she has forgotten about.
I guess I'm just bummed that we get the crap in the first place. It seems like such a waste spending money on junky toys that we could really use. But then I feel guilty cuz it's really my opinion that they're junk. I mean, I had some crappy toys as a kid, and I'm sure I loved them for awhile and then got over them (or they broke, got lost, etc) sometimes I think it's just another control issue I have...sigh...
I think next year I'm going to send catalogs of cool, natural toys to my in-laws, and maybe they'll get the picture. I don't want to offend them, but maybe they'll appreciate it.
anyway, thanks for the words and encouragement! peace, Megan
post #12 of 18
What I find hard is when I have to keep the crappy toys because they are a gift from someone who visits frequently! And I know I don't HAVE to, but I'm the kind of person who would feel so uncomfortable thinking that the person was looking around wondering, "Where is it?" I'm talking about people who mean well when they buy these toys, not people who do it to shove their ideas down your throat!
post #13 of 18
Tough issue, huh? Sophia's birthday is right before Christmas, so we usually go thru everything and she picks out things to give to kids that don't have any toys and helps deliver them. As far as relatives go, they pretty much know what I don't approve of and that I will get rid of stuff I don't feel is appropriate, so they're pretty good about getting stuff they know dd will get to keep. I usually make up a list of stuff and/or give them web addresses for places like Hearthsong and Magiccabin. This year I gave up on the Barbie ban after I overheard her tell someone she didn't have any Barbies because "Mama doesn't like me to have them" That just didn't sit right for me, so we talked about why she wanted them and why I don't like them. She just wants to change their clothes. She has been perfectly happy with her two "Queen Amidala" dolls and she doesn't even change their clothes. She uses them as props for imaginary play, something I haven't seen her do with her baby dolls. She did get one Barbie, but mostly ignores it now, after a day or two of playing with it constantly. I think she likes the dramatic look of Amidala better. Or maybe she senses my high opinion of the character. I don't know.

Oh, and I also quietly disappear things, too! She hasn't noticed!
post #14 of 18
Great question! We have to deal with this issue too, unfortunately. We are following Waldorf principles as far as toys are concerned: natural materials, toys that inspire imagination, handmade, etc. We have gotten rid of all 3 ½ yo dd’s plastic toys (gradually, on the sly) and she has not missed them. (And our home is so much nicer now!) The grandparents respect our feelings in this regard, but the great-grandparents are like your relatives who think it’s funny to see our reaction to her getting plastic junk. So, since the last Christmas present came with the statement “you’re going to hate us for this,” we “forgot” the present at their house when we left. We would have been more gracious depending on the circumstances and the gift-giver, but if the toy disappears quickly after it is received, it usually is not missed (especially at a time when she has just received many other things – Xmas and birthday). This, of course, will probably change as she gets older. (We will not have Barbies, no matter what. I don’t even understand why so many of my friends’ dds have these, especially at age 3 and 4!!!)

My brother also understands our feelings, but his wife got her something objectionable once. He asked me about it before he gave it to her, and I told the truth. I felt badly afterward (I sensed his wife was hurt), so we compromised and asked them if we could leave it there for her to play with when she comes to visit. It was then given to her as if that’s the way they wanted it, and dd was content with that. I think that because we don’t have junk, she is not attracted to it much!
post #15 of 18
post #16 of 18
We only really censure violent toys, like guns and swords. The one or two times my son has received those, we explained that they were not allowed in our house, and then took him to the toy store to pick out a new toy. Until recently I would sneak out old, broken, or not used much toys, but I feel very underhand about it. So now I am explaining why a toy needs to go, and so far there haven't been any huge protests. If that happens, I will probably wait a few weeks and try again. I'm not crazy about barbie, plastic toys, or character clothing, but I don't want to tell my kids they can't have those things, just makes them crazy about having them when out of the house. I've not made up my mind about if and when to get a video game system, which 4 yo has already requested. Any thoughts?

- Chelsea
post #17 of 18
I'm soooo glad it's not just me! When ds was born I told everyone NO plastic battery powered toys ever. I told them that kids make enough noise and that babies DO NOT need all sorts of "developmental" crap. Besides, we live in a very very small house. He did get a few, but I took them back. Now he is almost 4 and it is harder to tell people...maybe they forgot? This year for christmas he got several bags worth of junk toys. I told him he could keep two toys with batteries...he chose the hess helicoptor and the viewmaster flashlight thing. The other things I took back with him (I told him we would take the toys and get something he could use) and let him pick out a computer game for our new computer...he chose blues clues art time and blues abc's. now that was a good trade! I guess they think that now I have 2 kids so maybe i didn't really mean what I said....my MIL just rolls her eyes at me:mad: . So I told ds he has to tell mil when he needs new batteries for his toys as I will not buy them. . This year I took back over $150 worth of toys, and some of the nicer tv related ones I gave to the shelter(telly tubbies, and other stuffed animals). Do you all have the same problem with too many clothes? ds gets so many she'd be able to wear something different everyday for months....I also take these back for credit.
post #18 of 18
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