I just want to toss them all.
We have a 4 yo and a 3 yo who play very well together. The 3yo is very good at cleanup, but the 4 yo can't stay on task to save his life. Every night is a struggle, with me directing what to put away next, etc. I try to give as much freedom as I can, but I want the mess cleaned up every day or it's completely out of control. It will be much easier on the days they are in school now, but the days they are both home it's a nightmare.
DS 1 torments his brother as every big brother should. That includes stealing pieces from the puzzle DS 2 is working on and hiding them, often in places even I can't reach. So now there's not a single puzzle that has all its pieces. They're all still usable, just missing one or two pieces, but it's annoying to have all these useless little scraps of toys lying around. Nothing is whole anymore.
Somewhat related: The THROWING. We throw balls. Outside. Period. But they will throw or "play tennis" with ANYTHING they can find inside (a shoe was the latest tennis racket). I don't have a fancy house, but I don't want marks all over the walls made by small pieces that are being batted around. I have banned playing in their rooms to curb this, and the toys that are still violators are going in the trash. We now have an incomplete set of letter magnets for DS 2 to learn his ABCs with. I have piles of toys all over the house that are in "time out" for being thrown and they just don't care. Now and then they ask for a toy that's been in time out for awhile, but when I say, "You can have it back when you start showing respect for the rules and for your toys" that's just too much to ask.
How do you all deal with this? I took the puzzles that are missing pieces away and gave them back when the pieces reappeared. That lasted less than a week and we are now back to no puzzles. And the pieces are MIA or behind the couch, which I am not moving to get to them.
And it's not just puzzles, but that's the best example I have. We have reusable stickers with tiny pieces EVERYWHERE and I just want to throw it all away instead of trying to put the sets back together.
I say toss it all! LOL I'm with ya! When they go out...little by little...get rid of stuff. Not all at once, but gradually.
I can't stand all the little insignificant toys, like happy meal toys. They play with them for 5 minutes and then it becomes a pain in my foot. So they get recycled when the kid isn't paying attention.
I mean really...they do not need all this cr#$!
I do toss all the cheapie little "happy meal" type toys that find their way in. (We don't even eat fast food, but we get that stuff from birthday parties, etc. and the sad thing is, DS 1 does play with some of it for ages and loves it.) I'm talking about all the pieces that make up "good" toys like puzzles, games, toolbox, reusable stickers where they create their own creatures, marble run, trains, etc. And I have whittled down the quantity of toys, especially as the number of parts has gone up, but it doesn't matter. We're down to 4 puzzles, books, train table, legos, and a few random things. All the trucks/cars, toolbox, magna-tiles, airport set, blocks, and crayons have been confiscated.
We really don't have nearly as much as the "average" family as far as I can tell, but somehow our house is a complete wreck of what appears to be trash! I just don't get how all these families keep their homes so neat and when you see the amount of toys the kids have (whole rooms dedicated to storing them) -- how is that possible?? It would take hours every day to find all the pieces and put them back together and put everything away.
I am not a neat freak (most days my living room looks like Toys r Us exploded in my house), but I do have a little organization when it comes to toys. I don't have large rooms or a play room that they can destroy. I have bins. All dress up clothes go in one. All accessories (shoes, purses, jewelry) go in another. All dolls in one, all baby doll clothes in another. You get the point. And yes, it is an investment in plastic or cloth bins. Ziplock bags for puzzle pieces or little stuff like polly pockets. You could go to Good Will and find baskets for very cheap. I have a guest bedroom and I cleared out that closet and made the top shelf full of bins of toys that they like, but maybe don't play with all the time. She can ask me to get it down any time. At that point I say, ok pick up all your polly pocket stuff first, and then I will get the that down.
Again I don't need to do that all the time. I do not manage her play all day long like that. She has access to most toys that she likes. She has her play kitchen in my real kitchen and it has loads of dishes and toy food that she has to pick up maybe every other day. She has access to her coloring books/markers, dry erase/chalk board easel in the living room. Dress up stuff and doll stuff, polly pocket stuff, puzzles.
For example, she just got a cool play dough set that she wants to open. I said, sure pick up all your polly pockets first and then I will open it. If your kiddos are not willing to help pick up, then I would focus more on managing the toys. You can really cut back on it by putting it up high and they have to ask for it. Then you say sure, put that back in it's bin and I'll get that other thing for you. No arguments or struggles. The ball is in their court...so to speak.
I want to emphasize that I am not a neat freak. I still have toys and stuff out. I don't do the 4pm pick up time like other moms do. I just have her pick up one major thing if she wants to get another major thing out.
If people are coming over, I may have a Oh MY People are coming and WE ALL have to pick up. If she resists then I explain, we are a family...families all help...you have to be responsible for your toys or else they...blah blah blah. If that doesn't work then I say if you don't pick up that it goes in to a bag and into time out. That works for her.
I hate toys and find myself getting rid of a lot! When we actually had puzzles-we had them locked up and they would have to ask to get them and then we'd put them up when done. Same with board games. We still have Legos and Lincoln logs that have lots of pieces but I just ask that they put them up when done. Mine are pretty good about doing it bc now I tell them "I am sweeping in 1 hour, everything needs to be up and off the floor otherwise it will be tossed in the trash". And yes, I follow through.
Cassie, mom to Alex(7), Aidan(5), Andrew(4)
Organization helps a lot as does limiting the volume. We use Ikea billy bookcases with doors. A very few bins for duplo blocks only. I loathe toys bins and chests. It is much easier to put things away when they have a clear place for storage. Also, more of less works best so we have a large collection of duplo blocks and people but not 70 other types of building sets and people. Toys with missing pieces are put away for six months to see if the pieces reappear and then they go in the trash. We don't do toy rotation but a lot of people have good results. Finally, I closely monitor what come in the front. A lot of stuff goes straight to the "secret closet of mystery" and goes straight to goodwill.
I thought we were doing pretty well at limiting the volume and organizing, but even things like Magna-tiles have pieces. Pieces that get thrown/hidden and then forgotten, and then there's fighting b/c there aren't enough to go around. We have a bin system that the boys are very good at -- one for "transportation" toys, one for music/pretend, and one for building toys like the Magna-tiles, and then there's an empty shelf for puzzles to be stacked. They know where to put things. It's just that, by the end of the day, or even by lunchtime, EVERYTHING has been thrown around, half the pieces are in another room and/or under/behind furniture, and one puzzle could be in four different rooms. I try to remind them to put things back when they're done and before they take something else out, but even with books, they can't take just one. It's like an attention span thing or something. Today, they wanted to play with paper airplanes. I reminded them that we only throw things like planes and balls outside. So they went outside. 10 minutes later, they came back in for their planes. Which they took outside and never played with at all. So the end-of-day cleanup is horrible. And even the midday cleanup is painful, when I decide we need to do that. I feel like all I do is scold and struggle with them over how they're playing (throwing/hiding/not sharing/etc) with the toys or over putting them away. They're even starting to comment about how "mean" I am b/c that's all they hear.
I think JudiAU is right -- we need less variety and more pieces of the same one thing, at least for building toys. That would definitely help, but we still have the issue with games (none of which are usable at this point and are going in the trash) and puzzles (found all the pieces today -- miracle!)
My thoughts as a home daycare provider and a mom to two boys to add to what has previously been suggested.
Your sons just may not be ready developmentally to take care of small piece toys like reusable stickers without a LOT of supervision and help. I bag up most/all puzzles in zip locks or laundry bags and bring them out to use only under supervision. Having one or two out at a time works best for me. I find that preschoolers are too young to play games on their own - they need to play with adults until they are 5 or so so they can learn how it works. Your younger son may even learn better with just a few magnetic letters out at at time and focusing on the properties of those letters. The whole set may be overwhelming - perhaps it can be represented in a book or poster. I agree totally that young children often need fewer toys and more pieces of each, so sharing is not so much of an issue.
A wise friend of mine once told me that young children can learn from an incomplete set or toy, too. I learned to release my frustration about all the pieces not being together and to let the children come and tell *me* that a puzzle piece was missing or a game was unplayable. I totally understand your desire to have them respect the toys more, don't get me wrong!
They may need more large motor opportunities - How about having some foam pieces that they are allowed to throw and bat around indoors? Putting small piece toys away and putting a mattress on the floor to jump on? I keep gertie balls or bopper balloons (thick and very hard to pop) which children are allowed to throw in the house - all else goes outdoors.
Not to add another item to the room but I find if the child had a personal place to store his/her things, they can be introduced to added the responsibility of keeping things organized. I would look at www.kidschairs.com for toyboxes and chairs that would be a great addition to a child's room.
Subscribing because this is working out to be a great thread!
To OP, it sounds like your kids might be more destructive than average. I have a friend whose boy throws everything, pulls everything off of the shelves, out of the drawers, etc. It drives her crazy. I feel for you! Mine are okay at cleaning up. DS1 (4.5) is not great but getting better now that we have a montessori trained babysitter, and DS2 has a natural sense of order (as in, putting his binkie and blankie away himself and always wanting to pick things up/put away from age 14 months).
But, as far as organization and managing all the toys, these are some great ideas! Keep them coming! (and gosh, do I hate the disposable toy culture!! why do they even make that crap that lasts 5 minutes and then has to go into the trash?)
DS1 (6) , DS2 (3) , DD is here!
I do, too, except that now I'm starting to appreciate it. I'd be SUPER angry if they were busting up/losing/ruining nice, heirloom-quality wooden toys. (And he has, but if ALL of these were expensive like that, he wouldn't have any more toys at all b/c I couldn't replace them.) So now I see the incomplete set of cards from a game as recyclable and move on. I tossed his baseball bat in the trash the other day b/c he was beating on the house with it (after being told to only hit balls with it about a hundred times) and bashed in the kitchen vent. It went right into the outside trash can without a thought. And sadly, I didn't really care too much b/c it was plastic and had a hole broken in the handle already and has been baking out in the sun for several years. I don't like wasting things like that though -- it was still usable. But yeah, not so new anymore. So now he'll have to earn a new one, and it'll be a nicer one that will last, and if that one has to be taken away, hopefully he'll be old enough to understand "donation" rather than "trash."
We purge before every birthday and christmas. New toys come in, old toys go out. I have one toybox, if all the toys dont fit in there, then something has to go. There are plenty of other things to do than play with toys. Coloring, making music, arts and crafts, games, jumping/running, etc. These are the things DD wants to do anyway. Most of her toys are good for two things- throwing and tripping over. Out of the 30 toys DD has, maybe 10 of them are actually the ones she plays with.
Holly and David
Adaline (3/20/10), and Charlie (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)
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