Benson Tait

Benson Tait

Jun 15, 2024. 4 mins read

Parenting

7 Clever Ways To Get Rid of Toys Without Tantrums

Whether you already employ the art of toy rotation or are simply looking to downsize the clutter of toys in the home, getting rid of toys can free up space, reduce clutter and help your kiddos engage with other toys they already have. It's a no-brainer for everyone, right? In theory, yes. But as we all know, our kiddos can form attachments to toys despite not playing with them for weeks, months and even years in some cases. So, how can you get rid of those lonely toys without the tantrums? Here are our top 7 tricks to help you easily donate preloved toys. 

Child siblings argue over toys and steal each other's toys. children's quarrel

Why do children form an attachment to their toys?

We all know the feeling. You have a deep and exhausting clean of the house and feel great afterwards. You've donated the toys your children are no longer playing with. You've downsized your closet. Maybe you even finally cleared out the no-man's land behind your sofa. Well done! 

But while you're feeling relaxed, peaceful and free from clutter, your child quickly comes up to you in a panic, asking where their beloved train set is. You know, the one they haven't played with in 7 months? While you're sat there in a state of perplexion, wondering why on earth they care about said lonely toy they haven't expressed an interest in in months, the tears soon follow, leaving you feeling guilty and confused about how this could have happened in the first place.

Sound familiar?

You're not alone. According to a study done by professors Bruce Hood and Paul Bloom, children become attached to toys and objects because of an inherent belief that it has a unique essence or life force. Despite your children knowing that their toys aren't actually alive, they hold a belief that they somehow are. This is why children often reject replacements for their beloved toys, given that the smell and unique essence are gone. These items can be a great source of comfort for children.

While we don't recommend getting rid of your child's baby blanket that they can't go a day without, there are ways to get rid of unwanted toys without the tears. Here's how.

1. Limit the number of toys you leave out

If you haven't looked into toy rotation, we highly recommend giving it a go. Helping avoid tantrums while freeing up space, toy rotation can be a lifesaver when it comes to decluttering without the drama. Start by limiting the number of toys your child can leave out. Here's how it helps

  • Your children feel involved with the process and decision-making

  • Your children can prioritise their favourite toys with ease

  • There are no hidden surprises 

Expert tip - once you've decided on the toys you're going to donate to places such as the Terracycle Toy Recycling Program, make sure you're the one boxing up the items. In the same way, we struggle to part with clothing that holds memories, meltdowns can often ensue when you involve your children during the boxing-up process. 

2. Let your children know that toy rotation day is approaching

 Instead of just waking up on a random morning and deciding it's a toy-swapping day, pick a date in the diary and tell your children what will happen. This gives them ample time to prepare for toy rotation day instead of being blindsided by decluttering day. Here's how it helps 

  • Your children are aware of what's to come, helping them mentally prepare ahead of time, avoiding tantrums

  • Your children are provided with more time to decide which toys they like the most

  • Communication is always key!

3. Retain a positive attitude

 Our kids are like sponges when it comes to our emotions. Instead of framing the day as upsetting and gloomy, position it as an exciting day filled with new possibilities. How exciting is it that they get to rotate out old toys to welcome in new ones! Focus on the positives instead of the negatives.

4. Surprise them with new toys

 What's the great thing about rotating out old toys? New sustainable toys! If your kiddo is upset about parting with their old toys, remind them of the new toys coming their way thanks to the circular economy. Lots of parents prefer to declutter the same day they welcome new toys to ease the blow of rotation day. This is the art of toy swapping! 

5. Get your children involved in the selection process

Once you've narrowed down the new toys you're looking to snag on our toy-swapping app, show them to your kiddo to help them get involved in the selection process. Here's how it helps:

  • Providing children with choices helps them manage big feelings

  • This helps make the anticipation of toy rotation day exciting and fun

6. Take note of the toys your child is playing with

Whether you're an Excel mama who loves documenting milestones and habits with colour-coded charts or simply like keeping a journal on hand for making note of developments, taking note of the toys your child is playing with can be a really helpful tool ahead of toy rotation day.

Each day, write down the toys your child played with. Keep track of the patterns displayed to help you understand the items your child has a significant attachment to. This will help you avoid dramatic meltdowns while making helpful suggestions when it comes to parting with toys. 

7. Keep the process flexible

If your child is absolutely insistent that they can't part with a toy they haven't played with in months, try letting them keep it. If their toy rotation includes 10 toys, they'll quickly realise that retaining toys they no longer play with is a little boring. This will hopefully make the next rotation day a bit easier to manage.

Getting rid of toys doesn't have to be scary. By employing the above tips, you'll be able to declutter your home, surprise your child with new and exciting second hand toys and save money at the same time. Everyone wins with toy rotation!

Benson Tait

Benson Tait

Design . Digital . Fathering . Husbanding . Surviving . Founder

A man who loves design, technology, food and his family of two young girls and a smart gorgeous wife, who is on a mission to make parenting easier and help kids flourish for a happier home.

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