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Old 01-18-2010, 07:26 AM   #1
goingfor3
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Keeping Toys off the floor?

Right now my (just turned) 4 and (just turned) 2 1/2 year olds have four clear shoeboxes of toys. Each shoebox is a category and not filled up. The rest of the toys are in storage, to be rotated. I have the kids cleaning up the toys before snacks and meals, so everything gets cleaned regularly. This seems to be working well. The 4 year old does a good job getting a box and taking what she wants out. The 2 1/2 year old DUMPS. Keep in mind these aren't very full, so a shoebox of matchbox cars might have 10 cars. He can see everything to make a choice. The dumping is driving me crazy. There is no reason that every toy including a box full of blocks need picked up every two hours.
Has anyone had success getting a 2 1/2 year old to stop dumping? What have you done to stop it? (I have made him immediately put everything back in the box then pull out what he wants, but I am not always right there)

Another toy question; I am going to move the kid's bedroom (and rotating selection of toys) to an upstairs room. There will not be toys on the main floor/living room, except for baby toys when the 3rd gets here. Has anyone used a kids picnic basket for kids to bring toys downstairs and back upstairs? Or anything similiar that has worked amazing? What rules did you have with it. Like could they leave the toys in the basket until the end of the day pickup and only pick up the toys on the floor throughout the day?

I am not a crazy clean person, but trying desperately to keep up with my own housework and instilling a better "clean-up" ethic in my kiddos than I have had. I also know that I can't be successful in keeping up with my housework when all the toys they own are on the floor until I yelled enough to get help cleaning it up!

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Old 01-18-2010, 08:52 AM   #2
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Re: Keeping Toys off the floor?

Well, the dumping stuff is developmental. Toddlers go thru a dumping/gathering stage naturally at 2-3 years. It isn't so much that he doesn't know which car he wants, it's the noise & the action of the dumping itself that is the attraction. If you just can't deal with that, you can provide opportunities to dump/gather by using hard beans in a bin with cans to dump appropriately in a designated area at an appropriate time. So you are still fostering his natural creative developmentally appropriate learning but in a way that you can deal with. Sand, water, beads, beans, anything that is small yet lots of with that tactile & sensory sensation will achieve the same result. Then when he tries to dump inappropriate things like toys or cereal or a flower pot, you can have him help you "gather" clean it up(also natural at that age, take advantage!!), you can then provide him with what is okay to dump/gather.
For toy storage, I can't help you much. Every room in our house, with the exception of the kitchen & master bath, looks very much like a child lives here. Not cluttered mind you, everything has it's place. But I have a home daycare, so kids & toys & such are kindof my life at this point. We have areas with toys in almost every room. They get picked up & put in their places at transitional times, but are always "there".
The only things we truely get out & put away are messier table items like playdough or crayons or puzzles or pegs or beads & stringers. Those are put up high for safety & only I get them out at specific safe times.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:12 AM   #3
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Re: Keeping Toys off the floor?

Yeah if you figure out how to keep them from dumping you should write a book and sell it cause I've got three and they all still love to dump. Our toys are also stored in clear sterilite containers with one type of toy in each bin. And hey you're a step ahead of me in having them clean up throughout the day. I wait and do it all at once later in the evening.
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:56 PM   #4
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Re: Keeping Toys off the floor?

Yup, my 2yo does the dump too. It's very age appropriate. My kids clean up before rest time and before bed. We pretty much just put everything in small round laundry baskets. They kinda move the baskets from room to room and the baskets themselves become toys....bathtubs for babies, cages for puupies, mountains for horses and cars.... That's one option you could try for moving toys up ond down.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:37 PM   #5
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Re: Keeping Toys off the floor?

Thanks for the comments. It is somewhat reassuring to know that a 2 year old dumping is developmental rather than bad parenting on my part
It gets frustrating as I have a hard enough time keeping up with the rest of the housework/dishes/laundry...
Maybe he needs a dump-truck. Then he would have something to put the toys in when they have been dumped. Maybe with a little creativity on my part, I could teach him to dump the toys back into the clear sterilite container when he's done
I will have to try finding a cute basket or something for them to transport their toys in. Maybe even a cute bag or something. Any more ideas on that would be great.
As far as transitional clean up times, do a lot of people do that? I have just started it in the last few weeks. It does make me feel good to see a clear floor at least when the kids are eating at the table and a little longer if they get a show after.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:05 PM   #6
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Re: Keeping Toys off the floor?

I think it's normal! Good luck
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:17 PM   #7
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Re: Keeping Toys off the floor?

A dump truck is a GREAT idea! Now you are thinking! Perfect!
I would lean towards baskets that can be easily looked into to see what toys are there at a glance & easier to pickup with also.
We clean up at transition times and I spot pickup in between. It does give you a sense of calm to see a clear floor a couple predictable times a day.
I think you are doing just fine, mama! We all know how it goes!
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:20 PM   #8
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Re: Keeping Toys off the floor?

I completely understand the drive to keep everything clean and orderly....I am a type A all the way. BUT it can't be like that all the time, or even most of the time. I think you might need to relax a bit and let the kids enjoy play time without hovering over them so they clean up right away or only have a certain amount of toys out at a time. There is nothing wrong with having house rules and expecting your kids to help in the clean up or to keep the chaos to a minimum but like anything else, it is important to keep a balance with it. You mentioned that you younger will dump a box with 10 cars instead of picking out one or two but my thought is, is it really that big of a deal to have ten cars on the floor instead of two. Let them spread out and enjoy their playtime. That doesn't mean that they have to destroy the house but a box of toys at a time is really not a huge deal. You can organize a play area in your house and just let them go at it as long as they understand that whatever mess they make, they will have to clean up. I am just getting the feeling that you might be stressing about the toy issue and making it a bigger deal than it needs to be. I also have two little ones and a home daycare, so I understand the constant toys everywhere. Yes, learning to clean up after themselves is important but you can do that without hovering over their toy selections or stressing yourself out about what is and is not on the floor. I could be totally off base here and if so, I apologize. Hopefully I have said something that can be of a help to you.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:29 PM   #9
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Re: Keeping Toys off the floor?

There's no reason why you can't clean it all up every 2 hours if you must have a perfectly clean floor either. Your baby is happy. That is what is important, isnt it really? Kids that young aren't interested in how nice your living room looks. They are interested in dumping, having fun, and playing with you, mommy.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:45 PM   #10
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Re: Keeping Toys off the floor?

Doodah, thanks. I guess it is not the dumping one box of cars out that gets me, but dumping ALL available toys within the first three minutes of playtime. When deciding new toy rules recently, I decided that they should be able to play with more than one toy at a time to allow for greater creativity. My son does like to play with the blocks and cars together. He will also play with all the cars at the same time. He likes to line all the cars up in a row. It's cute.

I am also not crazy type-A personality about cleaning. I have just been too lax with my kiddos and am slowly trying to determine better boundaries for a better functioning household.

I really appreciate the input.

Nakedbabytoes-thanks for the input. I was debating between using cute baskets or clear sterilite plastic containers. Previously the kids each had one larger basket in their room, and it was dumped as soon as the toys were all back in it. (Often I was the one who picked the toys up) I picked up a few sterilite containers at WallyWorld to see if the kids could work the latches on the sides and if they would crack within a week of rough toddlers. My 4 year old daughter really seems to like them, plus at 1.50 or so each, I can easily buy as many as I need. I am sure I will probably go back and forth between baskets and lidded containers several times in the next few years
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