Mommy! He Took My Toy!!

I don’t know how things are in your household, but lately I’ve been hearing a lot of arguing between my oldest two. It seems that even though they have entirely too many toys between them, they just so happen to want the same one toy at the same exact time the majority of the day. How is that?

I keep threatening to take away all of the toys if they continue to argue. Which is immediately followed by a synchronized, “Nooooo!” Then, ten minutes later, they’re at it again. Ugh! I don’t know what to do. I’m tired of being referee. I try not to get involved, but inevitably it turns into, “Mom!! I had that first! He (or she) took my toy. Blah blah blah.” Then chaos ensues until I finally step in.

Okay, maybe my description is a little dramatic. It isn’t that crazy, but sometimes I feel like it is. They drive me nuts arguing over stuff. I’m constantly scolding them, “Do not take toys out of somebody else’s hand. If you want something, you ask for it nicely.” And reminding the kids to tell each other, “I’m playing with it right now. You can have it when I’m done.”

So, today I’ve decided that for the month of November, I will be taking away every single toy in the house. That’s right. Every single toy. Every stuffed animal, every race car, every doll, every ball, every bath toy. Everything except the books (unless they start arguing over them too, in which case they’ll be gone as well).

Here is my theory: If they don’t have any more toys, they will be so bored that they will eventually turn to each other for entertainment. They will make up games to play with each other and find other ways to amuse themselves together. I’m really hoping that they begin to appreciate each other’s company a little more, and be less annoyed with one another.

If toys are bringing about selfishness in my home, then they have no place here.

What do you think? You think it will work? Well, I could be totally wrong. They could find a piece of lint to argue over, who knows. But, I’m giving it a month to see what happens. I hope to see a change.

So, I was wondering if any of you want to take this challenge with me? Would you take your kids toys away for a whole month? Would you do it for two weeks? At the end of November I’ll do an update and let you all know how things went, and what I observed. If you want to join in, I’d love to hear your experience as well!

14 thoughts on “Mommy! He Took My Toy!!”

  1. Shepherding Your Childs Heart is the best book for raising kids! I have learned a of great biblical advice from it! Instructing Your Childs Heart is the sequal. They are great. I love Tedd Trip.

  2. I’ve done this with the toys, though not every one. Let me say, I’m not opposed to every single toy disappearing!

    As for the TV, we sold them all at one point. Give it a day and they didn’t even miss it! It was awesome. We did have the computer to watch DVDs when I was craving the electronic babysitter (I’m prego with baby 4 and need a nap sometimes!) I have reacquired a TV now since there are some great Sunday and educational VHS tapes we have that I like. The kids have been doing well this time around.

    I’m excited to hear how it goes!

  3. To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl is the best book on child-rearing that my husband and I have come across (we have read Tripp’s). It teaches that each child has possession of his own things and must learn to give/share those things with others. As Christians, we are in danger of teaching socialistic ideas, such as everyone gets to share something that belongs to one. The timer clocks for sharing that are on the market are cute–that’s how we are dragged into these socialistic ideas. God has bestowed blessings on each of us that are ours. We can squander those blessings or share them with others. This is what we try to teach our children regarding their possessions. We also try to teach them what possessions are TRULY valuable. Practically, we do take away toys that are fought over–I like Deanna’s idea of giving them back only when cherished and asked for. It is difficult in today’s society to keep those “gimme” desires in check–everyone feels entitlement–God teaches us that all things are by grace and mercy. We have considered radical changes in our home as the stuff piles up, but it is hard to have grandparents on board. I think that paring down the mountains of toys will not only get rid of stumbling block clutter but will also teach value for fewer things. God’s blessings as you seek wise training! We are right along with you in the journey!

  4. I’m so curious how this works! My baby is too young to pose a threat to my 2 year old, but I know the day is coming. Another thing I’ve tucked away to try when that day comes (heard this from another mom). Whenever her kids would fight they had to hold hands for 10 minutes, and do everything holding hands (one hand per child). If they wanted to pick anything up, or read a book, or do anything they had to do it together (and if they fought while holding hands the time went up in 5 min. increments. She said it actually became a game, but it really did teach them to work together on stuff.
    I’ve gotta say though, cc is RIGHT ON with her book recommendation. I’ve read tons of child-rearing books, and many were good. But my hubby and I read this book and the next one the same guy wrote (Instructing a child’s heart), and it totally revolutionized our child-rearing.

  5. Interesting! I can’t wait to hear how it works for you! My kids are 10 years apart, so they don’t much care for the same thing right now. Good luck!

  6. If my kids argue over a toy I take it away. I only return it if they remember to ask for it. The first of every month, I box those toys up and mark it. After the next month I take it to charity. If they didn’t think to ask for it they really didn’t cherish it. I also find that the less toys they have the better they play with each other. When they are older read the passage in the Bible… If a man asks of your cloak also give him your coat. Jesus would want us to give all to others. Doesn’t work with little ones but maybe your oldest. Usually what happens is this… the older child gives it to the youngest child. The youngest child (who really didn’t want it anyways) tires of playing with it after a few minutes and gives it back to the older child. Here’s where the probelm lies… when they fight over who is doing the giving 🙂

    I’m interested to see if anyone disagrees with you. People over possesions… I love your idea!

  7. We’ve done that to some degree.
    Some toys just disappear to the basement for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. Depends on the toy, how bad they were fighting over it, how much of a mess they kept making, whatever. Some of it is being overwhelmed with the amount of toys, some is the age and wanting everything to be theirs (without needing/wanting to share).

    As for *all* the toys being taken away, no. There’s always at least a stuffed animal or bowl around to play with. Mommy doesn’t have time to make elaborate games up with the kids or have a 3-hour tickle fest (10 minutes, of course, but not hours).

  8. I’ve done this several times, each time we get rid of a ton of toys. Currently, we have really paired down and my five kids only have some baby dolls, little pet shops, a couple webkinz, and my son has GI Joes and cars. It makes cleaning up so much easier!! Good luck…it does work…my kids did play really well with each other.

  9. Are you sure that you are not talking about my house??? My middle & youngest kids are always arguing & the middle one is always trying to irritate his older sister. Everyone one I have talked to said it’s just a part of growing up but it is very frustrating. I have taken away the toys but they then fight about something else. So I send them to their room. If they can not behave then I don’t want to listen to it & they have lost the privledge of being with everyone in the house. It only takes a couple of minutes & then they decide that they can get along…at least til the next time 🙂

  10. no way ! I dont really remember my kids argueing much, maybe I forgot. I think that must be one of those things that can drive you crazy at the time, but later it isnt something you remember. my daughter and son were 3 years apart and were real close and loving toward each other, but actually, for the most part, they di not share toys, he had his boy toys and she had her barbies and doll stuff, and they just didnt play with each others stuff.

  11. I have done this…! Not ALL toys, but down to just a handful. It does really help. Right now I need to get rid of the TV!!! What I have found that helps with toy fighting is using the timer to take turns. I will set it for a determined length and then each child gets their turn. Kids love FAIR and that seems fair to them.


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