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  • Dr. Liz Homan

How to DECLUTTER Your Child.

We are onto the final week of the How To De__________ My Child. If you missed any of the previous topics (Destress, Detox or Decondition), I encourage you to go back and take a look! There is some really valuable content in them, and I know you will find value in it!

This week I want to talk about Decluttering your child… or maybe your home…. I guess it is one in the same…

Who else has a corner full of stuffed animals that rarely get played with? Or toys that just sit at the bottom of the toy basket for months on end and never even see the light of day? Please tell me this is not just in our home.

Well, with the holidays quickly approaching and the thought of more toys coming into our house, I thought it would be a great idea to start to get rid of some of the ‘things’ that we have and do not use much of any more.

As I was reading on the best way of getting some of the clutter out of my house it was very clear that it may not be best to walk in with a big box and throwing a bunch of stuff in and saying this is all going away… 😉 which I already knew… haha. But what I did learn seemed very helpful and goes along with the gentle parenting style we prefer.

Before you even begin the decluttering process, it is a great idea to talk to your kids about what is about to happen. As always, I feel having and open and honest conversation with your child about why we need to get rid of some of their toys and where their toys are going is a great first step. What this may look like in our house right now is “Anna, I have noticed that you really like playing with your baby doll and Magna-tiles, but you have not spent much time playing with these stuffed animals in awhile. Daddy and I were talking, and we thought that it would be nice if we could share some of these with other kids that do not have as many toys as you. Do you think that would be a great idea?”

I would then wait for her response and if she is hesitant, let her know that we can keep 5 of her favorite stuffed animals from this pile, but the rest of them need to find other kids to play with. So basically a little give and a little keep to help them feel like they are still have some control over the situation.

Once they have decided that it is okay to allow some of the toys to go, it is a great idea for them to thank the toys for being fun to play with when they were little, but now that they are bigger, they are excited to share the toys with other kids that are littler then them.

Of course, you want to only donate toys that are still in good condition and it is a great idea to do a little research on where you can donate used stuffed animals, books, toys and games before having the initial conversation with your child so you can be prepared. There are so many organizations that would accept your donation that I encourage you find an organization that you really resonate with and support.

It may also be possible to sell some of your children’s toys. If your kid is old enough, you can have them help you take the pictures and then you can decide together if you want to donate the money to an organization or use the money to buy a new toy. Allowing them to help and have some control is going to make the whole process much easier for the whole family.

If the toys are too beat up, they may need to just make their way to the dumpster, making sure to thank them for the hours of joy that they have brought to the family!

I know that getting your kid to agree to let certain things go can be difficult, but once they are out of the house, your kid really will not even think of them again! If you are fearful that they may ask for the toy again in a few days, it may be beneficial to put it in a box in the attic or basement for a week before it leaves the house for good.

While I was reading on this, I stubbled across an interesting fact. It stated that kids thrive with 5 toys and that when they have more than this, they become easily distracted. With only 5 toys they found that kids are more creative, communicate better and are more cooperative. I am not saying that you need to only have 5 toys in your house, because we have way more than that, but maybe that will give you some encouragement to go through this process and declutter your child’s toys.

Good luck and here is to a clutter free house!

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