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to be dismayed at my children's attitude to their new toys?

(32 Posts)
Fayrazzled Thu 30-Dec-10 17:16:12

I'm not sure if I'm expecting too much of them or not. They're 5 and 3 and I tried to ensure I didn't go mad with Christmas presents as I don't think they appreciate them if they're over-faced and they already have a playroom full of stuff. However, once presents from grandparents and friends are taken into account as well as the gifts from FC they got a pretty decent haul.

I'm fed up with their attitude since Christmas Day though. They have enjoyed playing with their toys but just drop them when they've finished playing with them; leave them turned on (one toy has already run out of batteries and not from being played with); stand on things; don't put the bits from games away etc etc. I'm sick of reminding them to look after things; pick them up; switch them off and so on. Be honest, are they too young for me to expect them to be doing some of this on their own? They just seem to have such an "easy come easy go" attitude to their toys, which I find depressing.

I'm not a stickler for only allowing one thing out at a time- they can get out what they like within reason and if I'm honest I don't always make them tidy up or help me tidy up at the end of the day as I find it easier when they're in bed. Should I be tougher?

Fayrazzled Thu 30-Dec-10 17:18:34

Actually, I don't think I mean be tougher- what I really mean is: how do I instill an appreciation for their gifts in them? I don't want them to be spoilt when there are children who'd give their right arm for some of their stuff. Or are they too young to get this yet?

WimpleOfTheBallet Thu 30-Dec-10 17:18:46

YABU they're 5 and 3....I have to chase mine around too..."Here's the lid to that felt tip pen! PUT IT BACK ON!"

That's how they learn...I would say it takes until around 7 or 8 to get there.

TheMonster Thu 30-Dec-10 17:19:58

My son is 4 and we are just starting to get him to clear up after himself (although I know of people who have children who did it from much younger). I have to be very tough with him about it.
In fact, once, I came in with a bin bag and said anything on the floor in 5 mins was going in the bin. He didn't take it seriously until I returned and put some things in it. He cleared stuff away pretty quickly, I can tell you! I only threw away a handful of old crayons.

ashamedandconfused Thu 30-Dec-10 17:20:46

this is your problem

"I don't always make them tidy up or help me tidy up at the end of the day "

so they expect you to do it, and you do so as its easier

you need to be consistent, set your standards, dont expect them to do it themselves - make tidying up a game - a race to pick up 3 things, a race to put away something blue, then red, then noisy, then soft etc etc till its done - promise a treat - once we've done this we are going to XYZ

borderslass Thu 30-Dec-10 17:22:23

It's never to early to start tidying up after themselves I used to make a game of tidying up like see who can put things away the quickest.

pickgo Thu 30-Dec-10 17:23:15

Think they are a bit young to show appreciation through looking after their toys - particularly the 3 year old tbh.
But I don't think it's ever too soon to get them to help tidy up at the the end of the day. If you're consistent about this now it'll be automatic when they're a bit older.
If you really think the 5 year old is too blaisee (sp?) you could try putting some toys away for a bit and hopefully he'll really enjoy them when they come out again.

mutznutz Thu 30-Dec-10 17:24:51

Maybe try one thing at a time with them...like the tidying up? Forgetting to switch toys off...well they'll learn the hard way when they're a bit older. If mine leave them on now, they understand that there's no bottomless money pit that battery money comes from so they have to buy their own - but they are 8yrs and 11yrs old.

So for now, could you perhaps try putting one of those pop-up portable toy boxes in the lounge and make sure they pop their toy in there before taking another one out?

SylvanianFamily Thu 30-Dec-10 17:28:31

1)Zone it;
2)maybe 'disappear' some toys into the garage so they can be brought out at a later day when your dc will be less overwhelmed,
3) get a system going whereby they 'contribute' to the clearing, while being realistic about their concentration span
4 ) send some toys to GPs

In order:
1) Keep some toys in designated areas, to limit how much they can be trashed. In my house, craft is strictly confined to the kitchen. dd1 is also responsible for keeping her 'dangerous' toys out of the babies reach (if I find, say, scissors in Ds's hand, they get confiscated immediately even if they 'belong' to Dd.
2 ) Make a rainy day box with some nice toys, ready to cheer up a darker day
3 ) I set a timer for fifteen minutes, and tell them to clear the floor. I help - and tbh it takes longer than doing it myself ( e.g. Have to out the item to be tidied in Ds2s hand for him to put in the box). the toys get jumbly, but at least it's a culture of contribution. At the end of the fifteen minutes I get out a hoover and a black bag..... I've only had to carry out the threat once,,,,
4) I'm particularly thinking toys that need lots of structured adult input, at you maybe would struggle to provide (e.g. Board games).

maxybrown Thu 30-Dec-10 17:28:38

Lots of people will say they are too young I imagine, but my son is just 3 and if he was dropping things etc like that, they would most defintely be taken away and he knows it!

He mostly does the tidying. If he leaves things with batteries turned on, he will get nor more batteries for a good while.

Yes he pushes his luck, but he is kept on top of and knows he has to look after things. If he didn't we would without any questioning take them away

maxybrown Thu 30-Dec-10 17:29:50

ha, I am mean - I would make my 3 year old buy his own batteries if they ran out due to him not caring grin but then he loves buying things and loves batteries so...............hmm

FabbyChic Thu 30-Dec-10 17:32:17

They are toys and you have practically babies you are expecting too much.

Punkatheart Thu 30-Dec-10 17:34:46

I have always been strict with my daughter...but despite that she is a rolling ball of chaos..

She is thirteen.

However, when she goes to other people's houses she tidies up her friends' bedrooms and it is generally commented upon how tidy and organised she is....

There is a lesson in there somewhere....

2rebecca Thu 30-Dec-10 17:43:42

I would have only 1 toy out at a time and no new one until that put away. I think at xmas they do get toy overload and the excess increases their natural carelessness.
Leaving things with batteries turnedon is just kids, but if they wear down I wouldn't rapidly be replacing them if recurrently careless. If just 1 toy at a time it does focus them a bit, but means you have to be around to get new toy out for them, encourage them to tidy away the one they have finished with etc. If visitors then this level of supervision is hard

Fayrazzled Thu 30-Dec-10 19:26:47

Thanks for all your responses. I think in some ways IABU and expecting too much for their age, but on the other hand, I think I could be encouraging them to tidy up more with my help and start to learn to put things away. I think a starting point is going to be a) decluttering a lot of older toys and b) improving our toy storage so it's easier for us all to tidy up.

Many thanks for all your practical solutions and especially SylvanianFamily for typing all that out- much appreciated. I think it's going to be a process rather than the quick fix solution I'd hoped for!

ChippingIn Thu 30-Dec-10 19:46:10

You aren't expecting too much of them - they are 3 & 5 year old children not babies. You have to start now (sooner would have been better!), it is constant but if you just keep saying 'Put your x on the table, if you leave it on the floor it will get broken', 'Put x with y or it will get lost and wont work', 'Put all of the x's away together then they wont get lost/broken'... so telling them why they should do things & how to do things.

Don't rush to fix or replace toys that get broken when they are careless with them.

When you have well organised storage they are definitely old enough to tidy up themselves...

If they 'can't be bothered' or are 'too tired' tell them it's just fine, you will put them all in nice big boxes and put them in the loft/garage for when they are a bit older and don't get so tired

maxybrown Thu 30-Dec-10 23:43:14

I agree chippingin! So many people seemt o have low expectations of their children.

My Sister has been like this with my nephew and now aged 12 is an absolute nightmare and it is like he is 6. She was very different with my niece though who, I have to say is more intelligent, but from the start she had low expectations of him and babied him

hmc Thu 30-Dec-10 23:53:52

You have to keep reminding them (eventually the repetition of 'look after your toys' will work) but you are expecting a bit too much at that age.

Mine are now 6 and 8 and now they finally 'get it', but it is just a recent thing. They used to rip open packaging in a cavalier fashion so you weren't left with a usable box to return the toy to once done with it - however now (this change was during the last 12 months) they ask me to open it carefully with scissors.

Ds (6)used to mix up all his lego so that you can't tell the star wars lego from the spongebox lego, thus effectively ruining the play value of those sets. However this year he is constructing his lego and then when done with it carefully returning the right set to the right box. Tis a joy - but has taken some time to get there.

They also now turn stuff off to conserve battery life! - unheard of until recently

maxybrown Fri 31-Dec-10 00:08:04

maybe ot also depends on their personality too as my 3 year old would not rip boxes or treat anything disrespectfully in that way. Very very occasionally he might forget himself, but very rare, but I have expected this from him from the beginning. I guess I have neevr though oh that's just what they do.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 31-Dec-10 00:13:22

They're young and don't understand the consequences of leaving their toys strewn about. Also, with young children, it's easy for grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. to buy lots of nice things that really add up to major quantities and volumes of toys.

Could you perhaps 'ration' them? Take half of them away and put them away for another day so that they're not so overwhelmed and can actually enjoy and concentrate on playing with just a few toys at a time?

hmc Fri 31-Dec-10 00:13:33

Oh well some of us obviously don't have your superior parenting skills

maxybrown Fri 31-Dec-10 00:15:21

wtf? confused he is just a really good biy - he also has a teacher for a dad and a teaching assistant for a mum grin

maxybrown Fri 31-Dec-10 00:15:32

boy not biy

hmc Fri 31-Dec-10 00:18:29

Well I'm glad mine have a bit of spunk and character and a slightly rebellious streak so that I have to work at getting them to confirm a little bit. Don't think a completely malleable child would suit me at all!

maxybrown Fri 31-Dec-10 00:30:28

oh didn't realise you had ever met my son - he is great fun, why are you turning this into a personal attack? He is a little monkey who is really good fun and very polite and a good boy - he is certainly not boring, but not sure how you can suggest that when you haven't met him?

I was just telling you what my boy is like, that is all.
I have worked in schools and nurseries all my working life and never ever in any of the places I have worked have we accepted that 3 year olds just rip things or just don't care because they are incapable. If they show they cannot look after things, they have been taken away. I am quite certain your 5 year old doesn't go around school destroying things or not giving a toss?

I am not attacking you, I was telling you, as i have just said what my son is caable of - that is all. Why you feel the need to get shitty about it I have no idea at all

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