It’s a giving time of year. So what better time than the present to reduce the clutter and pass toys on to a child in need? The problem is your preschooler is reluctant to give up her toys — even though she hasn’t played with them in ages.
It’s common for kids, especially younger ones, to put up a fuss when it comes to donating their own things. Children often grow attached to their possessions, so it’s natural for them to not want to part with them.
But, even preschoolers are old enough to learn about generosity, compassion and the importance of helping others. Donating their old toys is a great way to begin that lesson.
“It’s a great lesson about sharing,” said Dr. Iris Castillo, a pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics in Ashland. “It gets kids to start thinking about helping others less fortunate than them. It’s never too early to teach kids about helping others in need.”
To introduce the idea, first talk to your child about donating — and explain the importance of giving and helping others. Tell them about other children in need who may not have as much as your child. Explain how giving them her old doll could make their day and put a huge smile on their face.
“Enlisting your kids in the process of donating not only will help them experience the joy of giving, but might open their eyes to all the remarkable things to be grateful for in their own lives,” said Dr. Castillo.
She offers 5 tips to reduce the clutter, all the while motivating your kids to help others less fortunate.
Ask for input.
After introducing the idea, ask your kids to help with choosing which things to donate as a family. Let kids decide which toys stay and which ones go. When they can’t yet seem to part with a favored item, try to respect their wishes but encourage them to look for other options to give.
In addition, ask where they’d like to see their playthings donated.
“Involving your child and letting her make her own choices on which toys to donate will empower her and make her feel in control of the situation,” said Dr. Castillo.
Set a target.
Especially if your child is showing resistance, set a quota for her so it’s not so overwhelming. Also, you could make a game out of it and say for every 2 toys she keeps, see if she can give up 1.
If your child is still reluctant, set aside the toys to donate in a box or closet for a while and explain that her toys are there if she wants to play with them. After a few weeks pass, if she still hasn’t played with them, explain to her they’ll be donated to charity.
Set an example.
Any time you want to teach your child a lesson it’s best to model it. If she sees you giving away unused items, she’ll be more likely to do the same. Maybe one day it’s tackling your closet, while the next it’s tackling her toy room.
Make a habit of it.
Once you’ve warmed your child to the idea, do it on a consistent basis. After a couple of times of giving, she’ll be less likely to put up resistance in the future.
Reward her efforts.
Offer plenty of acknowledgement, praise and hugs when she agrees to pass along some of her items. Make sure you let her know how proud you are of her generosity and ability to help others in need. Even if she didn’t enjoy the act of giving her toys away, she’ll enjoy the feeling she got from doing so.