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AIBU To think parents should help children look after their toys

(27 Posts)
WannaBeAMummy16 Sat 30-Jan-16 08:25:08

I am a nanny looking after two children - toddler and 6 year old. The 6 year old has behavioural and learning difficulties and is on par with a 4 year old.

They had lots of nice toys for Christmas. Large extended family. Lovely things like a plastic toy kitchen, jigsaw puzzles, train set, books. Nothing overly expensive but things that people have spent time choosing for them.

A month later and the kitchen is broken, the jigsaws are missing half their pieces, train set parts are all over the house, books are ripped. The children are too young to be able to look after their own things so surely the parents should be doing it? It saddens me every time I come across something else that's broken/ripped.

I tidy up when I play with them, put things back in their boxes etc so why don't the parents??

timelytess Sat 30-Jan-16 09:19:11

Perhaps 'things' don't matter as much to them as they do to you?
Perhaps they want the children to learn that if they don't put toys away, or look after them, they won't be there later when they want them?

nutellacrumpet Sat 30-Jan-16 09:20:50

It is only stuff. No point getting overly upset about.

MidnightAura Sat 30-Jan-16 09:28:41

I think it depend on the age of the child. I know a 4 year old who broke her iPad after a week, has broken two Nintendo 3DS consoles and broken most of her toys. It makes me reluctant to buy her anything expensive as I know it's going to end up broke or lost. Her parents don't seem to notice or teach her to look after her things.

Dreamonastar Sat 30-Jan-16 09:29:20

It's only stuff.

JonSnowKnowsNowt Sat 30-Jan-16 09:34:50

I expect my nanny thinks this about me (but is too nice to say so!) There are 10,000 things I should be doing at any one time, and a lot some of them don't get done.

I have a DC with a medical problem (not learning disabilities) and a vast amount of time goes into researching it, trying different approaches etc., chasing up about medical appointments, etc. etc. That's just an example, but the parents will have many things on their mind/to do while with their kids which you don't have to deal with when you're with the DC.

RubbleBubble00 Sat 30-Jan-16 09:37:18

how exactly do you we that the parents to look after the toys? Jigsaws I have to put in a shelf and do with them when I have the time or the bits go missing. How are they to prevent the kitchen being broken?

CoffeeCoffeeAndLotsOfIt Sat 30-Jan-16 09:46:35

YANBU. My ds is 3.5 and I count jigsaw and game pieces before they go back in the box etc.

You need to teach young children to look after their things.

(Though I admit I was a precious only child that liked everything pristine and used my crayons v lightly so they'd all remain same size etc. Felt tips had to go back in rainbow order....grin)

Stanky Sat 30-Jan-16 09:48:33

I don't worry about toys, or children's books. When they're very little, these accidents happen. They know not to break things or rip books on purpose. As they get older, they take better care of things that are special to them.

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Sat 30-Jan-16 09:51:57

I have a toddler. However much I help her look after things, things get broken. They just do. She doesn't break things intentionally, she just isn't quite old enough to understand that if she isn't careful with them then they'll break/rip etc. I've yet to meet a toddler who has a full set of pristine toys/books/puzzles.

sootica Sat 30-Jan-16 09:56:17

Because it destroys my soul to spend my life picking up toys and I run out of energy to do so. I wish I could keep them nicely I really do I just can't bring myself to care enough to spend ages sorting the toys after a destructive wave has hit the house, I just sweep it all into toy boxes in a muddle and collapse on the sofa

ShadyMyLady Sat 30-Jan-16 10:00:58

I'm with you OP, I hate seeing toys/puzzles that are trashed. I was also the 'rainbow pen' variety and spent hours organising my stationery when I was a child I still do. My DD1 mostly looks after her stuff, she would never dream of damaging something intentionally. DD2 and DS however are awful at looking after their things. 5yo DD2 has ASD and chews and trashes everything. It used to make me so sad when I was younger as she would draw all over the walls, over books, rip pages out, chew puzzles into a pulp etc. No amount of me telling her will make her understand. DS is nearly 3 and I'm trying to teach him but failing miserably.

I think some kids are just like that and it's not necessarily the parents' fault.

Alicewasinwonderland Sat 30-Jan-16 10:06:54


Of course, it's only stuff, but I think it's important to teach children to respect their toys. Things will get broken naturally in little hands, but it's not too early to show them a good example.

They are less likely to be spoiled and bored with their toys if you help them. It's doesn't sound right to let them break something just for fun.

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Sat 30-Jan-16 10:16:06

They are less likely to be spoiled and bored with their toys if you help them. It's doesn't sound right to let them break something just for fun.

That's a bit of a leap, where in the OP does it say the parents are letting the children break things 'for fun'?
If you acknowledge that things get broken in little hands, surely that's what's happening here?

VulcanWoman Sat 30-Jan-16 10:17:56

Now don't jump on my back peeps, OP, do the parents look after there own things?

WaverleyOwl Sat 30-Jan-16 10:22:28

When I had only one child, I was very organised, and made sure everything got put away neatly after they had been played with. House was pristine at end of the day, and all toys were back where they belonged. Of course, I did this all myself, but it was manageable.

I now have two DSs (one 3 and one 5), and, frankly, they can make a mess explode when my back is turned, and they don't have the skills or the patience to sort everything out without a huge amount of help from a parent. And trying to get them to listen to me to 'teach' them how to tidy is nigh on impossible. I find they don't learn things very well from me, which I find soul destroying at times. So sometimes we give up.

Don't get me wrong, they hardly ever break anything, but their toys are a bit of a jumbled mess. My DS 5 likes things sorted, but it has to be his way, which is not always as logical as I would like.

I've had to get over it, as otherwise my blood pressure would be through the roof (I was one of those kids that liked everything neat and ordered). Frankly, at the end of a long day I have more important things to do with my time. One day they will realise that they can't play a game, or do a jigsaw, as there are pieces missing, and understand what I've been going on about. I can see my older DS starting to understand this and being more careful. I can't, as yet, get my 3yo to care. I'm sure it will come in time.

megletthesecond Sat 30-Jan-16 10:22:54

In an ideal world I would love to help keep the dc's toys tidy. However since they stopped napping a few years ago I no longer have have time in the day to sort them out. And I'm not tidying at 10pm in the evening. Bearing in mind 7yo dd has deliberately broken two tv's in a year a broken toy is the least of my problems.

Lots of toys are broken and binned in this house. It's why we're slowly moving towards mainly lego toys, it doesn't matter if a few bits are lost and it's impossible to break.

caitlinohara Sat 30-Jan-16 10:25:49

It sounds to me like they have too many toys.

BlindAssassin1 Sat 30-Jan-16 10:25:55

Like sootica I find it soul destroying. I find toy tidying busywork or wife-work and beyond scoping it all into one box at the end of the day, I can't bring myself to sort all the Lego from the Happy Land people from bits of puzzle or whatever. It sucks my time away.

I'm innately tidy and have spent ages sorting toys, labelling boxes etc but the DC don't actually seem to mind if things are in a jumble or a bit battered. Its their stuff not mine.

Bananalanacake Sat 30-Jan-16 10:26:11

I agree with you 100%, children need to be taught to look after their toys as they won't get new ones if they break them. So far my 16mo has broken my mug and her bowl but I'm not letting her break any toys.

Booboostwo Sat 30-Jan-16 10:30:43

This way lies madness OP! The DCs are too young too understand and you'll drive yourself mad doing it for them. I have a very sensible 4.5yo and a toddler so if she wants things kept intact we put them away where the toddler can't get them, everything else is fair game for the whirlwind horror that is my DS.

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Sat 30-Jan-16 10:37:18

I agree with you op

And for those saying its 'only stuff' .... Does that extend to your own belongings too? Families 'stuff', friends 'stuff', school 'stuff' hmm

Op, you are getting these odd responses because you are the nanny. If it was the other way round and the mother was saying this about their nanny you would get different responses

Strangeoccurence Sat 30-Jan-16 10:50:57

No yanbu to expect parents to help children to look after their toys.
Yabu to assume that they are not trying to help because some toys are damaged.
I have tried with mine, and i do think they now sometimes do a good job at looking after their things.

We also sometimes dont bother putting all of the lego back into its correct box. Sometimes its easier to just fling everything into one big box. Especially when the box of toys are played with daily

JonSnowKnowsNowt Sat 30-Jan-16 11:01:21

Op, you are getting these odd responses because you are the nanny. If it was the other way round and the mother was saying this about their nanny you would get different responses

yes, because a nanny is PAID and given TIME to tidy toys, put jigsaws back together etc. A working mother is doing this late at night or at weekends, and is having to choose between that and other pressing things.

But, it's all relative. If the kids are wantonly destructive or out of control with toys, it of course needs reining in. If the house is just rather messy at weekends, with toys and jigsaws not being put away until the nanny gets there no Monday, then that doesn't seem too bad to me, given the ages of the DC (2 and developmentally 4)

Plastic kitchens are often utter trash and break very easily. I'm not a fan of books getting ripped, but 2 year olds do that. Jigsaws are the bane of my life and we lose bits all the time - the DC have mastered the art of cutting a bit of card into the right shape and colouring it in to fit, which I think is rather creative. Mine aren't really into trains any more but there is lego in EVERY room of the house. I pick it out of the shower tray sometimes. I would drive myself and DC mad if I tried to put it away 'after every game'. Doing lego is a continuous all-day activity for DC2, he's fiddling with it all the time.

I do agree with a less-is-more approach though, I do regular sweeps and get rid of broken plastic tat. I think some kids play with toys in a very 'as intended' manner, and some in a much more 'their own way'. None of mine play with individual toys or 'sets', really. They take bits from one thing, mix it with bits of another, and carry out elaborate scenarios which creates a bloody awful mess sometimes, but it's all imaginative play, so I'm happy with just scooping it all into a box at the end of the day.

Aspergallus Sat 30-Jan-16 11:04:43


Totally agree.

We try to make sure that tidying and putting away between playing with toys is routine. With DC aged 4.5 and 1.5 this does mean we have to be involved in tidying up.

I'd hate their toys to become a pile of worthless broken junk. They have A LOT due to large family and I think taking care of things is respectful and part of not being totally spoiled/entitled which is a bit of a danger when they have so much.

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