Have you ever just stared at your children’s bedroom and wondered, how did they EVER accumulate so many toys? Gifts from family and friends, Christmases, birthdays, I can feel like I am staring at a toy store and not a children’s bedroom! Sometimes, it’s good to do a spring cleaning, no matter what time of year it is! But how to you convince your children to get rid of their old toys?
There are many ways to get your children to part with old toys that they are not playing with anymore. It’s just how you approach the situation.
A lot of children are nostalgic and even if they are ignoring their toy all year long, as soon as you mention it’s time to let it go, it suddenly becomes their most precious commodity. How can you get rid of toys, especially toys that are broken or unloved?
It’s all in the Approach
Children are generally visual learners so a lot of what we are going to suggest involves actually showing them examples in order to understand. We find this sticks in a child’s head and these examples help them come to a conclusions faster than just giving them a reason.
Speak to your kids about what toys are important to them and explain that there are other children who do not have as many toys as they do. As they get older, they can give their old toys to younger siblings or give away toys. Explain the importance of charity and drive your children to a second hand store. Let them walk around the aisles and see that many people donate toys and other goods and that other people buy them and give them a good home. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure! This could help your children get rid of their toys.
Reusing toys is something we can all do to save money and take care of the planet! Bring your children to the local landfill and show them how much waste there is. Their toys will not be thrown out but reused to give to children who will play with their toy constantly.
Explain the Difference of a Fad Toy and A Forever Toy
Before you pick up that next fad toy that will be popular for the next three months, explain to your child the difference between a fad and forever. A forever toy may be that special STEM toy that you built yourself with your parent, that took weeks but when it was done you were so proud of yourself. It may be the popular toy for about three months that is quickly replaced with another fad toy.
Take your child to a toy stores website and have them write down 5 fad toys and 5 forever toys. This can help you for their birthdays and Christmas to pick toys that they will like, for a long time!
For Birthdays, Christmases and More…
Before you pick up that next fad toy or feel like you did not get your children enough, opt for experiences. Experiences are something the whole family can do together and you can buy tickets for the children or write a fancy IOU to give to their birthday.
How about a weekend trip to a fun new city or hotel? A day at the waterpark or zip lining? Perhaps you and the whole family can save for a coveted family vacation or staycation where you eat at all of your children’s favorite restaurants, go the playground and visit a site near home. Experiences last a lifetime.
After the experience you can scrap book the pictures and get your children involved. This extends the experience even longer and keeps the family working together and enjoying each other.
To Get You Must Give
For every toy your child gets, you could start a rule that they should get rid of one toy that they no longer play with. The want for getting a new toy will usually supersede the drive to keep the old one.
The Three Questions
When choosing toys in the future ask your children these three questions:
Is it a Fad Toy or a Forever Toy?
Do I want it because everyone else has it or do I like it? Other children having something that they do not can cause children to choose toys that they really don’t like. After our friend’s child switched schools, her $600 Pokémon collection did not matter to her anymore. When my friend, her mother approached her, she simply answered “I never really liked them anyway!”
Teach your children about being individuals and expressing their likes. It’s good to try new things but not the fad ones.
If they were buying, would they save their allowance for it?
Putting a price tag on things does not age children faster but give them an understanding of value. Sure, that new doll or fad toy looks like fun but is it really worth $50? Especially if $50 takes a child a few months to earn. You can start teaching value to a child as young as four. Keep it age appropriate and positive and you will be surprised.
Is it bringing joy often?
Does this toy bring joy or will it bring joy often. Will it encourage your child to get outdoors or to play with others? You and your child must decide!
Throwing out old toys is like throwing out memories for your child. It is important to show children that real memories are made with family and friends and not items. It is perfectly normal to cherish toys and they should, but when they are taking up most of the room, it’s time to do some spring cleaning, no matter what time of the year it is!