How old for setting rules on number of toys out and cleaning up? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-23-2013, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds will be 3 at the end of March.  My tolerance for toys all over is dwindling....

I want him to have imaginative play and not feel highly constricted, but I'm thinking all I can tolerate is about 3 or so toys at a time.... now by this I dont mean 3 blocks, I mean the blocks, the lincoln logs and the cars....and then STOP!  Put these away before you get something else out...  Is this too young for this concept?

 

I've also had an issue over the last few days of him going to his room, unknown to the rest of us, and in the matter of just a few minutes (serioously, not long at all), he grabs all his books and toys off of 4 shelves, stuffed animals out of the baskets, and other toys in the room and 'throws' them around and totally destroys the room.  This has happened 3 times in the last 24 hours.  I've had him help clean up....I've told him NO very sternly and told him no big messes and read a book about a messy room....but I'm not sure what else to do!  HELP!

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#2 of 10 Old 02-23-2013, 12:07 PM
 
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We are potty learning and I had several stacks of clean panties sitting on a shelf in my daughter's room. Several times a day she threw them all over the place until I gave up and put them in a basket in a higher to reach location. I think she was doing it as a way to express ownership of her stuff.

I'm all for limiting toys, but make sure you have a closet or someplace out of his reach so you can rotate items as needed. Also, does your son play alone or with others?

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#3 of 10 Old 02-23-2013, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For the most part on his own....his older brother and sister are in their teens.

I don't have any more containers to put things in. And I can't really afford right now to go out and buy more....his closet is tiny and full.

 

Thanks though....  He does not have an abundance of toys....maybe more than some but not as many as a lot....we have learned to cut back with this one!  We have most of the toys in the living room in containers but he can open them! And there is nowhere to put them out of reach....  sigh.

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#4 of 10 Old 02-23-2013, 01:45 PM
 
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I've sort of always had that rule with DD that she can only play with a few things or one "basket/bin" at a time.  She's 15mos and in our living room there is a bench with 3 baskets on the bottom.  I grouped the toys so there are puzzle toys in one, noise makers in another, and stuffies in the 3rd.  She will pick which one she wants - most often the puzzle bin, and play with that.  Anytime I see her looking to move on, I jump in and say 'ok time to clean up!' and we sing while we put them away.  Then we can unload another bin.  There are other things like the bag of blocks that I try to limit to only those out so she's not overwhelmed by too many options.  We have a small house, so everything we own has to be super organized to make the best use of the space.  I'm not saying my house is always tidy by any means, but I utilized baskets everywhere and keep like-with-like to make it easier to find things.  I really made it out to be a fun thing to put things away - in the beginning I'd say, 'oh no, you can't put that in there!' which of course made her want to do it and now all I say is 'in' and point to the desired bin and she helps out.  She even has a morning routine of helping feed the animals, mainly the cats, and her favorite part is putting the food away at the end :-)

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#5 of 10 Old 02-23-2013, 02:04 PM
 
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Personally, I feel like it's kind of impossible to want really imaginative play while restricting how many toys can be out at time. My son is 4 1/2 and he often plays with a large variety of toys at once, acting out a big scene. What I do to help curb the mess, is when I notice some groups of toys aren't being played with, those have to be put away. Or if he is moving on to something like a game or a puzzle or something else self contained, then the other toys have to be put away first. Also, he is solely responsible for putting away toys. When he was around 3, I would give him a lot of direction on how to clean up the toys and I would start small, but he was always the one doing it. I think it helps with how many toys get brought out if he knows he will have to put them all away.


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#6 of 10 Old 02-23-2013, 04:21 PM
 
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We do something similar. If the new toy is part of the same game, it can come out. If she's moving on to a new activity, we put away some equivalent mess first. DD actually seems to kind of like it. She's the type that gets play paralysis when there's too many toys, though.
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#7 of 10 Old 02-23-2013, 06:22 PM
 
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At this age I feel like the best way to limit the chaos is to do it on your end. I don't think most 3-year-olds are capable of self-limiting how many toys are out. For us we have the most success with cutting down drastically on the number of toys available (put some in storage & donated the rest so only a few are out at any given time). For a friend of ours, having lots of toys out worked fine and instead they just made a point of asking their DD to help clean up once an hour or so (before starting dinner/games/outing/craft/etc.)

The other thing that I like is simply closing the door to DS's playroom. He prefers having lots of toys out at once & plays better that way, so I just close the door when it starts to get to me. In family areas -- living room etc. -- I am more insistent about picking up what's out before bringing out anything new.

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#8 of 10 Old 02-24-2013, 09:35 AM
 
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There was a good thread on this topic awhile back, so you may want to look for it (for ideas).

 

I'm with you, I can't stand a lot of toy clutter around, so from early on, I did the bins, and keep similar kinds of toys together (like they do in preschools/daycares).  I limit toys to 2 categories (small bins) of things out at one time.  Then if anything else comes out, something has to be put away first.  We also do regular clean ups throughout the day, and right before bathtime to prevent the "tornado of toys" look.  I have hardwood floors, so sometimes if the clutter's getting to me, I just sweep all the stuff that's been abandoned (and getting in my way) off to the side of the room into a pile so at least I don't have to step over it. 

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#9 of 10 Old 02-24-2013, 10:23 AM
 
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My kids liked to dump all of the bins and then jump on the bins. I noticed that my kids were extra crazy with so many toys everwhere and having too many out meant too many choices and they wouldn't play with their toys! Just make a mess and jump on bins. So now we have only a dozen toys out available to play with, kept in ONE bin and you know what, my kids are much calmer now and actually play with their toys. Clean up is also super easy! I rotate the toys a few times a month.
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#10 of 10 Old 02-24-2013, 10:26 AM
 
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Oops, forgot to mention my boys are 2, 4 & almost 6, I do not think 3 is too young to set some toy structure. Follow his lead..if he likes to dump his toys, then make the toys available a managable amount.
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