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Solution: Pack Rats (Updated)

by Playroom Supervisors | June 14th, 2013 | Parenting Predicament

girl n toyEvery time my kids get some cheap little toy at a fast food place or something, they play with it for a few days and then get tired of it. But when I try to give away any toys, or even put them away, they demand to keep them and it starts all over again. Any suggestions?

This depends on the age of the children. Up to about age three, it’s really hard to negotiate — but if you can hide something from them, they’ll forget, within hours, that they ever had it. Then you might want to keep it out of their sight for a few months. This really works well for some parents.

ETA: Shirley L. Moore, specialist in toy organizers, says, “Rotating toys is as simple as ‘pack-n-stack.’  Pack half or so of your child’s toys in a few boxes and stack them out of sight from your little one either in the garage or his closet.  Every season, change things up by swapping some of the toys!  This is not only cost effective, but it makes the child feel like he has just received a bunch of new toys!” (toyorganizersonline.com)

Of course, all kids have toys that are extra special (like a stuffed animal they sleep with) which they should be able to keep.

After age three or so, you can negotiate: Give away at least one toy if you want a new one. Hiding toys doesn’t work so well at this age.

From about age five, you can teach the idea that not all kids have toys and they can make someone happy by giving away some of theirs. Kids probably won’t understand this unless they see visuals of children in need. When they do get the idea of giving, you should take them with you when you make the donation so they can feel they’ve accomplished something.

Someday, they may surprise you by taking the initiative to donate their old toys.

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