I was scheduling out my blog’s facebook page two nights ago when I came across an article basically suggesting no toys were the answer to all childhood’s problems. Okay, maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic, but the article stated that German researchers had found that in daycares where they removed all toys, children benefited greatly. Specifically, removing toys “…may help children learn important social competencies and life skills such as empathy, creativity, critical thinking, and the ability to resolve one’s problems.” In case you’re wondering what these kids did sans playthings, they collected items from outside and got imaginative, playing with those instead.
Let’s get things straight. I’m not about to take away all of my kids’ toys. Being a big kid myself. I actually like toys. In fact, my idea of a good shopping trip is browsing the Disney store or developmental toy store endlessly.
That said, my house is consumed by stuff. And that stuff is seemingly reproducing overnight. The first week of February, we welcomed a baby boy. Then, my daughter had her fifth birthday. Then, it was Easter. Because I was so morning sick during the entirety of my pregnancy, household chores took a massive back seat while I was largely couch or bed ridden.
We’re overrun by toys and other kids’ things. So much so that Spring cleaning doesn’t even seem like a sufficient term for what we’ve needed to do.
Because I did just have a baby, it was really important I got my kids to clean up with me. Even though they are only three-and-a-half and five-years-old respectively, I want them to learn to be independent and involved in the process of getting our house in tip-top shape.I would say I’m about one-third of the way through Spring cleaning the house. The kids have been incredibly helpful. Moreover, I’ve noticed a shift in the amount they help clean in general. Here are the best strategies I’ve found to get your kids to clean up and help out.
At this point, I would say we are about one-third through the cleaning and toy-purging process. Here are the strategies that I’ve found have helped my kids to clean up and be involved.
Best Tips for Getting Your Kids to Donate and Clean Up Toys
Involve them in the purge.
If your household is anything like mine, you’ve gathered items to be donated only to have your kids find your donation bag. Old toys become remarkably appealing when Mom has decided you no longer need them. This is can be true for clothing sometimes too. For example, the other day, my daughter asked where her jean short overalls had gone. I had donated them a year ago.
The answer here is to involve them in the purge. Yes, it takes more time and can mean addressing indecisiveness, willfulness, and other delaying behaviours.
But think short term pain, long term gain.
Furthermore, I want my children to understand why we donate. There are children less fortunate than ours who would greatly benefit from their extra toys. In kind, I want them to appreciate what they do have.
It’s all about quality over quantity.
As found in the above-mentioned German study as well as a study published out of Oxford University found that people who have less tend to be more creative.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Clorox and contains affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through amazon, I will receive a small commission All opinions expressed are my own.
To start, I hand my kids bags to collect items and we work together.
Toys that are broken and haven’t been fixed in a month need to go in the garbage. Period.
Ask yourself and your kids:
- Are these toys versatile? To add a new dimension to my kids’ play, I often take out a pot of water and tell them to treat it as a swimming pool. Or, I suggest they take their figures outside and pretend the lawn is a jungle or a forest. If toys can’t be played within a multitude of ways, donate them.
- Can they be played with open-endedly? For instance, Lego can be built and rebuilt, played with once built and generate endless hours of play. My son’s Paw Patrol pup pad is a press-a-button-hear-a-sound toy. It is not versatile nor open-ended
- Does my child play with this toy often? Or, has it been forgotten for weeks? It may be hard to admit, but anything left for over a month isn’t really relevant anymore.
- Make your peace with giving up items that have been given to you. It’s so hard to say goodbye to a gesture of generosity. All I can do is remember that practicality needs to come above all else.
Consider the 20-Toy rule. I’ll admit we haven’t come close to this yet. However, the advocates of this principle claim that reducing children’s toys to 20 each (with some exceptions) to increase happiness and peace in their homes.Donate bags of toys & get your kids to clean up with these tips #CloroxMeansClean #ad Click To Tweet
Once finished deciding what will stay and what will go, I have my kids wipe down their toys (they actually love doing this). We use Clorox Disinfecting wipes because they’re bleach-free, kill staph, strep, e. coli, listeria, and cold and flu viruses. All of which I want dead and gone with a new baby in the house.
Then, have the kids tidy up. I find putting a song on and asking them to finish before the song ends, setting a timer, or having a race (where I am the loser) all are great motivators.
I hope these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me! Happy cleaning!