Do you ever feel like your child has too many toys? Are you left wondering where they accumulated all of the toys in their room? This was me not that long ago.
Every three or four months, I like to go through and clean out my daughter’s toys. Before, I would do this during nap time or while she was otherwise preoccupied so that I would not have to deal with any potential meltdown or tantrum over cleaning out her toys.
However, this last time that I cleaned out her toys, I decided to include her in the process. After all, she is four and certainly old enough to learn about helping others in need.
The timing of this lesson could not have come at a better time. Just the day before, we had been driving downtown. On one of the corners of the intersection that we were stopped at, there was a homeless man with a sign that read “Homeless and hungry. Anything helps.” My daughter looked at him and asked me why he was just standing there holding a sign. I thought about it for a minute to decide what the best way to explain the situation to my 4-year daughter. I explained it to her by telling her that sometimes people have a hard time and don’t have a job or money to pay for food or a house. I told her that when we more than we need, we help out those who do not have enough. She thought about it and accepted my answer.
The next day, it was time to clean out her toys. We went through all of her toys and I told her to put her favorite toys back in the toy chest or on the shelf and to put the ones that she doesn’t play with anymore in a bag for donation. I explained to her that we aren’t going to throw the toys away, but instead, donate them to children who are not as fortunate as her and who may not have any toys to play with. My Little One was surprisingly very excited to help me sort through her toys and decide which ones get to be donated to other kids.
It was a very proud moment for me as a mom to see her not throwing a fit, but instead happy to be giving her toys away to other kids.
I have seen this same mentality of helping others in my Little One more and more as she gets older. Whenever there is a car stalled on the side of the road, she tells me, “Mama, its good to help people if they need it.” It is a challenge at times to explain to her why we aren’t stopping to help every single person on the side of the road. Conversations about making sure that we have our family taken care of first and explaining that some people already have help on the way are a bit more confusing to her little 4-year old mind to comprehend.
I want to raise my children to always help those in need. I want them to be generous and help those in need. If we have more than we need, we give to those who are less fortunate. To see my 4-year old little girl embracing this with open arms truly warms my heart and reaffirms how I am raising her.