Out with the Old, In with the New

Christmas has passed and now it is time to help your child declutter their bedrooms and separate from the old things, making room for the new. Toys and games from years passed may have overstayed their welcome in your home and it is certainly a great time to help your child decide what will stick around for another year – and what will be donated or thrown away. Mr. Mark discussed this topic on The Rhode Show. Watch it here!

Children under the age of seven or so will have their own formed opinions of certain items in their bedroom. Some of their toys have been around for years. When it is time to purge these items from the bedroom, there may be some stress or decision making that must happen. It is best to present this process to your child in the form of a game or a conversation with the intention of making decisions fairly. You can easily make this a positive experience by recommending that some things be given away – donated to charity or handed down to family members- and this may relieve some of the issue your child has with separating from their prized possessions. Sometimes you can add fun to the process by creating a challenge or setting goals. Overall, creating a stress-free atmosphere will help your child become more organized and appreciate the new things that they are given each year.  Look around for neighboring charities that accept gently used toys.

For younger children, parents know which items will be missed most and which things have lost their appeal. When cleaning your younger child’s room, think of the things that are broken, missing pieces or are not what you would want your child using in the future. These items can be the first to go. Then start assessing the importance of positive development and interactive games and toys. There are probably some things that have never been opened or are tucked in the back of the closet. Try donating these. If you are not sure if your child will miss something you are getting rid of, put the box in a closet near the exit to your home. If a week has gone by with no mention of the toy, it can be safely removed or disposed of.

The most important thing to remember is that there are some toys and games that can be kept for memory’s sake. A good method of keeping sentimental items to a minimum is to create a box or tub that is specifically for toys, items, clothing etc. that has significant meaning. If your child is too attached even at an older age, it may be like “Andy’s Buzz Lightyear and Woody” – these items should be saved. Start a box and keep a few things for yourself as well. Looking back on your child’s memories is important for both of you. 

Above all, remember that children change every day. They are growing into teenagers, adolescents and young adults. It is important to start the process of breaking the bond with material things at a young age. Memories will be forever but toys do not last that long! Stay organized, keep your child involved and most importantly make sure they know why. Donating and passing items along can be just a rewarding for your child, even at a young age.

This article was written by Mark Sullivan, Director at The Children’s Workshop in Norwood, MA.