Weeding old toys - Tell the kids or not?

Filed under: Preschoolers, Development/Milestones: Babies, Chores

teddy bear"Make two piles," I told my five-year-old. "Those you want to keep and the ones you want to give away." I left her sitting in front of a gigantic basket of stuffed animals, about a quarter of her collection. We were spending the day organizing the girls' bedroom and playroom, and this year, I thought they might be big enough to know which toys they no longer wanted or needed.

Silly me.

Ten minutes later, she hollered in to me. "I'm done." A pause, and the, "Wait. Mama? I think I'm going to put the one I put in the giveaway pile back into the keep pile, ok?" I let out a deep sigh as she shoved the entire basket back into the closet, where it will surely sit until we clean and organize next time. My kids can't part with anything.

So I did what I always do -- set them up with a snack and some coloring books and did the job myself. Now their room is clean and organized, and no one yet has noticed even one of the several bags of toys missing, Freecycled and picked up by a mom of a one-year-old.

Still, it feels deceitful. So I'm wondering -- do you tell your young children when you're giving away their old toys, or are you sneaky like me? And at what age do they really start to be able to part with things they don't use any more?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.