On Letting Kids Claim Their Space

October 9th, 2015 by Dionna | Leave a comment
Posted in Consensual Living

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on letting kids claim their space

I still remember Kieran’s little toddler voice shouting “mine!” over some toy. He never had a blankie or lovey, but he has always cherished certain possessions – usually things that he found or created himself.

Following the advice I read about possessions and toddlers, I let him keep a few things back, put out of reach, whenever we had friends over. Giving him control over a few of his things helped him feel better about sharing the other toys. (That’s not to say, of course, that he never again screamed “mine” over a different toy!)

I admit, I’ve been somewhat surprised that he hasn’t grown out of the need to have special things; if anything, the need has grown along with him. The collections of sticks, rocks, shells, old toys, and Legos – oh the Legos – grew into boxes and shelves, and tabletops and piles of clutter. The Lego creations especially started to take over the house. He could not tear a Lego creation apart after he’d shed blood, sweat, and tears putting it together. We have spent hours over the years whittling out compromises over where and how many creations (Lego and otherwise) would be displayed.

And while I believe that kids should be able to have their own special things and their own special places, I do not believe that their special things should take over the rest of the house. My need for order and some level of cleanliness is just as valid as my kids’ needs for control and possession.

Our current agreement is that both kids have several shelves in the toy room for display and/or storage, as well as a cloth storage bin or two put away in cabinets. They can jam, cram, pile, and shove their collections into these places, and as long as it doesn’t leak into shared spaces, I don’t say a word. (These shelves and bins do not include their books or school supplies.)

Occasionally (once every 4 or 5 months), I get twitchy and start to wonder if there is anything alive in their special places. We go through everything together, because I do not believe in throwing my kids’ things away without asking. More often than not, they have no problems culling their collections into more manageable troves of various treasures.

Do your kids like to hoard collect? How do you manage to encourage their collections without letting them take over your house?

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Photo modified (words added) with permission from Adam Bindslev via Flickr Creative Commons.

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