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The iron will of a toddler...should i take the toys away?

664 Views 14 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Satori
I'm getting used to this whole "I'm a toddler hear me roar" thing.

This morning we had a playdate with some mdc moms...which was tons of fun btw... I was trying to get the house ready. I was done except for T's room. It is always a mess because he insists on throwing his toys out of the toy box. They are always all over his floor. He gets out every toy he owns and every book all at once and throws it in the middle of his floor.

I'm sitting in front of the toy box putting the toys in and he is screaming at me, hitting me on the back, and pulling all of the toys back out. I asked him to help and he yelled NO and kept throwing them. So, I cleaned as fast as I could and got him out of the room to distract him. Not 5 mintues later he went back in and dumped his toy box.

So, I had this idea nad don't know if it would work or not.

What if I took all his toys out of his room and only left a few in there; like a car, a book, and some of his little people? Then after he got used to having jsut a few in there and putting them away; add more back in. The kid has a ton of toys and I've already gotten rid of half of them.

But I'm trying to find a way to teach him to not throw them all over and play with some and then put them up but he seems to have too many to choose from and I think sometimes the choices drive him over the edge.

Any other ideas??
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It seems like normal behavior to me. Personally, I wouldn't mind if I went to someone else's house and their kids toys were on the floor, but I know it is nice to have a clean house. I have heard of doing a toy rotation where only a few toys are left out at a time and then after a certain time period those are taken away and new ones are added. That way the child isn't overwhelmed by all the toys and he actually plays with them instead of just throwing them around. My girls have a lot of stuffed animals. I took most of them away leaving only the ones that they really play with. They haven't even seemed to notice.
I've tried the toy rotation, because our play area is small and it frustrated me that Talia hardly touched most of her toys. I find it really works - it makes tidying much easier, because there isn't as much junk and there's much more space for what's there. Plus, when toys come around in rotation, they seem new and hold her attention much better.

Unfortunately, I don't have the attention span to keep that up well. So, while I can heartily recommend it, I don't do a good job of it myself...
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We do a toy rotation here. Sometimes I'm better at it than others -- For instance, I think every toy the kids own was on the floor, the little monkeys had somehow talked me into having more than a few out at a time. I need to go through everything again and organize so I can control how much is out at one time. When only a few things are out, the DO actually get played with and not waded through.
I let DD keep all her toys out all day and we pick up at night before bed together. if I dare try to put things away she does the same thing - NO! MY SESAME STREET! Little people everywhere...

She likes to mix and match the toys she likes from certain things and play with them with other things - KWIM?

We sing a pick up song. usually she helps, but sometimes she sits and watches, which is OK too.
I have done what you said. I do toy rotation. And I quit buying so many.

I would want you to understand the nature of some kids need to take up the entire space.

Having quick little pick ups might help. Having less toys might help prevent him from being overwhelmed. Directing him how to clean up might help also.
yeah, he just doens't play with the toys he has all over the place. He always plays with the same ones. The rest are jsut in the floor taking up all the play space he has.

He doesn't like to pick them up...even with a song... and he doesn't like us to clean them up either. I'm thinking removing some of them would be the best solution.
Toy rotation sounds like a good idea, we have also gone through and tossed or given away the "junk toys", we don't buy our son alot of toys, we will save up and maybe spend more on a valuable learning toy (easel, train table, etc..), but we both have alot of family, so for birthdays and Christmas he gets overloaded.

One thing I did read recently I can't remember where (seems like in one of Dr. Sears books?), they said that a toy box actually is not good for little kids, because they just toss all the toys in there in no particular order and then kids learn that they don't have to take care of things. They said what is better is "toy cubes" or cubbies, where just a couple toys fit on each shelf or some sort of structure (you could probably use some sort of organizational drawers, or those structures that you slide wicker baskets into?) and then they learn to put things away orderly and to take care of their toys instead of just tossing them all in a big pile in the toy box.
thats is pretty much what we did. The plan was to strip it down pretty bare and then as they started asking for specific things to slowly get them out again. Anythign they didn't ask for in a year we would get rid of. It helped butnot much. I htink a general rotation works better. and getting rid of everything theyabsolutely don't have to have. Stay with like sets. for example. we had little people and little tykes people. we got rid of one. we had mega blocks and legos that didn't work together so we got ridof one. It helped a ton just to weed out all the random toys.
Well I did it today. He was occupied elsewhere and I did it with out him around. He walked into his room and was first like "Where did my stuff go?". Then I took him over to the toy box (I wanted the cubbie things but we couldn't find them and had to have something.). He looked in and got all bright eyed... BALL!! and that was all it took.

Clean up still didn't go well because he knows its a sign of bedtime.

But I think it'll work well for him.
I like the toy rotation idea, we do this, too.

But personally, I think if it's his room and he wants his toys everywhere, that's okay. So long as the shared family areas are kept clean, I don't have an issue with messy rooms. Unsanitary messes (like food lying around) obviously not, but I wonder if your son was objecting so much b/c he felt that his space was being violated?

Just a thought...
Piglet, I agree with the 'violating his space" thought. The shared family areas have to be picked up daily, but their rooms I don't care really. About once a month I will go through with them and do a massive tidy of their bedrooms. My kids' bds are in the summer, so every 6 months we get a new toy influx (BD and XMas) So toy thinning is a regular occurence at this house.
Since he doesn't like clean up because it signals bedtime perhaps you could do it sweveral times a day. perhaps before every meal. (then it signals food!) At our house the end of supper starts the bedtime routien so it wouldn't have a chance to get terrible messy between then andbedtime and even if he did get a few things out that would give him somehting to do before breakfast. cleaning up that often would also help build the habit of putting things away before leaving the room. the only thing that I would make an exception for is elaborate pretend games and set ups (for example if he made a block city for his match box cars ) that he was totally absorbed in and you knew he would go back and play after luch. but if he just dumped the box, time for clean up.
He has gotten picky about his space lately. He wants to be in the bath alone. I sit outside the door and watch him but he doesn't see me. The minute he does see me he yells for me to go.

The limited toys doesn't seem to be bothering him. Of course yesterday he was locked outside of his room. After getting up from his nap he proceeded to take off his diaper and poop all over his room...literally. He played in it. It was smeared on his toy box and wall. he even went so far as to run his toys and my shoe through it. So, now I'm even more glad he had only a few toys!!
We had the toys all over problem but it was in the living room and it drove me insane because I was always tripping on them and dd REFUSED to pick them up no matter what. I warned her for 3 days that what ever toys were not put away after she went to bed would be meeting Mr. Trash Can. She did not believe me and on the 4th day in front of her I picked them up and took them out of the house. She was not happy but every night after that she picked up her toys for a long while
I think were getting on toy overload again but this time I'll clean then out when she's not home
I felt totally bad but dd doesn't get it unless its something drastic as she needs very concrete examples. Kinda hard for me as I'm a figurative type of person! Toy rotation does work but unfortunately we do not have the space to store them as we live in a very small 1 bedroom apt. We did rotate them when living with my mom and I swear I did not buy toys for about 2 years because we just went into the garage and let her pick out a few "new" ones
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