In Toy Story 3, Andy’s mom insists that he pick which toys to store in the attic and which to give to charity prior to going off to college. When you move with kids, you may be faced with asking them to make similar choices.
We have many years of experience advising parents on this age old dilemma. Here are some ways proven to help kids part with some of the old toys on their own.
- Reassure them that there will be only one time they need to make this decision. Once in your new home, those toys are there to stay. Show them pictures of their new room so they have a visual of their new storage areas. Let them know that you want them to keep their most treasured friends and toys. This familiarity with their stuffed animals in particular will help them with a sense of safety and stability.
- Depending on their age, you can consider giving them some say in the set up of their new bedroom. Use can let them cut out pictures from magazines for an inspiration board. The objective is to let them feel more grown up, and the new room will be for more grown up furnishings.
- Show your kids the items you are purging and let them add to the pile. You can acknowledge the sadness of letting go while encouraging the excitement of new spaces and friends. If they are old enough, let them help box their donations and take them to a charity.
- One option for school age kids is to give them their boxes first. Let them fit the toys in that will be coming along. But, it’s important to be fair. They will be more likely to let go of old toys if you don’t expect them to toss nearly everything.This also means that your kid may choose to bring along a broken toy. Very young children can’t differentiate these things and may not have the emotional skills for separation yet.
The most difficult decisions for your kids will be situations when there’s not enough room in the boxes. Acknowledge that the choice is hard and give encouragement and praise when they let some items go. Finally, let your kid help with boxing the toys that are being donated. You may need to explain that broken toys are inappropriate to donate. If you expect that your child may not be able to handle that news, you may need to cull the broken toys when your child is out on a play date or at school.