Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WFMW - Whittling Down the Toy Pile

Last week I commented on Mamma Talk's post about her Toy Explosion and it gave me the idea for this week's Works For Me Wednesday tip. Thanks Mamma Talk!

When The Calm One and I get overwhelmed with toys we usually cart them to the Goodwill or have a yard sale. Of course, it's every parents' nightmare wrangle the toys from trying to help the chickadees to give up toys. Even the ones that are buried at the bottom of the toy box and haven't seen the light of day for months on end. And then there are those that have been tossed aside because Whirling Dervish figured out how to take it a part (read as: "broken"), but didn't figure out how to put it back together again.

I am sure this phenomenon is not limited to the Jubilant household. So, to help our children part with these essential items we decided to give them a set amount of money for every item they donated. It used to be a quarter, but our chickadees quickly caught on that a quarter just wouldn't cut it. Happy Meal toys are tough for our kids to give up for some reason and since they aren't worth much, sometimes we'd reward them with a few M&Ms for every one of those.

This way, they had a new toy to look forward to and it helped soften the blow of getting rid of their stuff. It does eventually whittle down the toy pile. What it usually comes down to for us is that we end up buying them one toy for getting rid of seven or eight.

If money is not an option, figure out what your child's "currency" is and do that. For every five (or ten) toys they donate it's a trip to the video store to rent Kung Fu Panda or a game for their Nintendo DS. Or maybe they like to stay up late on Friday nights. Have a camp out in the living room with a real tent and sleeping bags. The options are limited only to your imagination.

The only other thing I would suggest is to not put off the reward for too long. A couple of days is long enough. It's better, IMHO, for your chickadees to see the fruit of their sacrifices sooner rather than later.

Since we try to have a teachable moment now and again here in the Jubilant household, we make sure to emphasize that there will be other children that can have toys because our kids were giving up theirs.

Works for me!

(For other WFMW tips click on over to We Are That Family.)


  1. Very good ideas. I think I've probably bought less than 10 toys for my kids, and still yet you wouldn't believe that with all the toys they have. They were passed on to us by friends and family.

    Thank you for visiting with me.

  2. What a great idea! I can't wait to have kiddos of my own so I have a need for such great advice. :-)

  3. You're welcome! And, I can't believe I am not following you. I've been reading you for months. Fixed that! Off to read more!

  4. Anonymous3/25/2009

    This is good stuff. My daughter also has a problem throwing away what is obviously trash. We made up a game of "feeding" the garbage can and it worked very well.

    He's looking hungry again.

  5. Hello! thanks for visiting Three Words today. :)


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