Getting rid of toys as a child can be traumatic, but with these simple steps, you can be successful when it comes to how to teach kids to get rid of toys!
How To Teach Kids to Get Rid of Toys
We have all been there. You know, when your playroom looks like a bomb went off in it, and you are feeling overwhelmed!
You grab a trash bag and start throwing everything in there because you are just done and you have decided that any toy that is out is going in the trash. Just then your daughter walks in…
“Mom, what are you doing with my doll?”
“Mom, why are all of my Pokemon cards in the black trash bag?”
You hurry and stuff some more in and speed walk out the door hoping your kids won’t follow you!
The questions keep trailing behind you. “Why?” “Where are you going?” “What are you doing?”
Of course as moms, we want to have a sparkling clean house without a toy out of place, but unfortunately, this is not the way to get it done.
What we can do though is teach our kids how to clean up after themselves and how to decide on their own to throw away broken toys and puzzles that are missing pieces as well as give toys that they no longer play with to others in need.
So, how do we teach kids to get rid of toys?
The first step in teaching kids to get rid of toys is preparing them. A few days before clean out day talk to them about how you are going to be going through the playroom and organizing. Talk to them about how you are going to have fun and do puzzles to make sure they have all the pieces. Also how you are going to find all the pieces to the train set and put them all together.
This will be a great time to let them know that while you do this you are going to go through the toys and see what they have.
Explain to them that Christmas is coming or their birthday and that you need to make room for the new toys they will get. I always love to talk to them about those who are less fortunate that might really like some “new to them toys.”
At this point, your kids will probably grumble and tell you they play with everything and they can’t possibly get rid of anything. But as moms, we know this isn’t true. Regardless we let them think that for now… We have gotten their wheels turning about getting rid of toys.
Your kids will probably ask a lot of why do we have to type questions. Be sure to give them real answers. Don’t be like I used to and say, “because you never play with it anyway” or my personal favorite “because you never put it away”
Get your kids involved on clean-up day.
It’s clean out day! Can I just tell you it is my favorite day of the year? I am serious when I tell you that!
Step 1 on clean out day
So, the first step on clean out day in our house is pulling everything out… Yes, I really mean everything. And let me warn you, it is a huge giant mess. But with that being said there is a purpose behind it. Once we pull everything out then search high and low for all the cars and we put them in a pile. Then all the dolls and put them in a pile. We gather up all the play food and organize that. Once everything is organized we begin to make choices as to what to keep and what might be a better fit for a new home. Or if it’s broken the trash bag. Yes, we always have huge trash bags on hand.
Making choices can be hard for your kids if they never have had to do this before. So, you need to guide them but never push. The best thing to do first is see if there are any broken toys. If there are ask your kids what they think you should do with them. Let them make a choice before you suggest to throw it away. Their answer might surprise you and suggest you throw it away. If they don’t explain to them why throwing it away might be a better choice.
If your child can’t get rid of anything other than a few broken toys the first time consider that a win! Because it is a huge step in the right direction. They just came to the realization that it no longer serves a purpose.
After this, have them pick a few of their very special toys. Have them put some of these away for safekeeping.
Then designate some floor space to “Broken toys” and “Donate toys”
Go through each collection of items deciding if they want to keep, donate, or trash it.
Does your child need 50 matchbox cars? Probably not. Ask them how many they think they need. See what they say. If they say all of them and don’t really play with them perhaps suggest they get rid of a couple. Explain to them that other little boys and girls that can’t afford new toys would probably love a new car, or doll, or whatever you are sorting through.
As you go through all the toys be sure you involve the kids in putting them away in the correct spot so they know where to find them.
Sometimes children have a hard time letting go. Let’s be honest, we have a hard time letting go! My oldest kids are not really attached to very many toys. They never really have been. So they can quickly get rid of the things they don’t like. But oh sweet Talie (3) Well, she is little and is attached to every toy no matter if she has never even seen it or played with it before! So naturally, she wants to keep everything and can’t bear to get rid of anything!
This is when it is crucial that we keep calm! Explain things to them and be soft. If kids that get easily attached to toys make the choice to even get rid of one toy the first time this is a huge win! The next time it will be a little easier and then a little easier. But we must stay calm and not become frustrated when they want to hold onto everything, even the McDonalds Kids Meal toy.
I know that teaching kids how to get rid of toys is painful at times! It requires lots of patience! We cannot begin yelling out of frustration. So patience is key to a successful toy clean out day.
Eventually, they should be able to easily distinguish between toys that they really love and play with and others that aren’t that great.
Getting Rid of the Donations
After you have successfully gone through all the toys, you will have your playroom completely clean because all the toys you are keeping are put away. Which then leaves two piles a “trash pile” and a “donation pile.”
Help the kids bag up the trash into garbage bags and haul it out to the trash can for garbage day.
As for the donations, help them gather up the toys and carefully place them in the donation bag. We then carry them to the car and we all hop in. We drive to the local donation center and drop them off for other kids to enjoy.
Now, I know many people sell toys rather than donate. I don’t just because they are left sitting around your house until they sell. Which means your kids are left eyeing it and playing with it for another week or so and perhaps won’t want to sell it when the time comes. The choice is yours though. This is just what works for us!
After we drop off the toys at the donation center we celebrate a job well done! We either go for ice cream or slushies. Then we talk about how great they did organizing the playroom and how nice it looks. We also talk about how good it feels to give to those who are less fortunate than us.
Celebrating is important when we teach kids how to get rid of toys because it validates what they did and if you always celebrate afterward they will always have something to look forward too!
So, There you have it! Just a few simple sets that teach your kids how to get rid of toys!
What do you do when it’s time to clean out the toys? Share your ideas in the comments!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!