View Full Version : Mistreating toys

07-09-2015, 01:11 PM
I have some basic house rules in place and one of them is to "treat toys with respect and play with them properly". One of my mindees (boy, 4) is ruining a few things, ripping paper based things, kicking or stepping on other things, sitting on inflatable things etc...nothing major but still not playing with them as I would like all the time. how much Dyou put down to wear and tear and how much do you discipline over this? I told him off for ruining something, he goes all quiet and says sorry when I tell him to but I feel it doesn't sink in and just carries on. Any advice?

07-09-2015, 01:43 PM
For me this would depend on whether it was 'purposeful' damage (for attention seeking, through anger, boredom etc). Or if it is just boisterous play (I have had 4 year old boys of my own!)? or clumsiness (tearing books because trying to turn pages and finding it hard?). Is it that he 'can't help it'?

I would be watching like a hawk, removing anything precious from his environment to protect it, talking about being gentle and careful, distracting and diverting, addressing any anger/temper issues.

How is he at home?

07-09-2015, 01:51 PM
You have to ask yourself, what does "treat toys with respect and play with them properly" mean to a 4 year old? If you want them to follow your rules you have to word them in a way that they will understand. I've often heard people say to a child "play nicely with that". Perhaps to him, standing on a toy is nice, because it's something he likes to do.

At that age you have to be very specific - do not tear books, do not stand on toys, do not sit on that toy. It'll take a while and you'll feel as if you're constantly saying "don't", but after a while they will learn what they can and can't do.

After that, if they continue to behave in a way that you don't want, tell them what the consequences will be and follow through with it. So, if he stands on a toy, tell him not to. If he carries on doing it tell him "if you stand on that toy again..." and explain what the consequence will be. If he does do it again, follow through with the consequence.

You do have to expect some wear and tear to your toys, but if the destruction is caused by a child who should be old enough or developmentally aware enough to know what they are doing, then you shouldn't have to put up with it.