You might ask yourself who are “Hurricane toddlers“?
What I call a Hurricane toddler is a toddler who comes into a room and doesn’t play, instead he / she takes out all toys one by one and drops them around. After they go through the room, it looks like a hurricane went through. With all the toys out of the bins, shelves, boxes and thrown all over the floor.
This behavior is especially frustrating for older siblings or parents who end up cleaning up the mess. So, here are several tricks to stop, or at least, contain this type of behavior.
All the tips shared on this page are from other parents, like you and me, who have experienced this in their own homes.
Some of these tips might work with your child, some might not. After all, kids are all with their own personalities and same things don’t work on different children.
You can try those you think would work best with your toddler. At the end, you know your child the best.
My toddler is one of Hurricane toddlers (that’s how I came up with the name!). What worked, after lots of trouble and trying different things, was to get her to clean it up. Have to say, she’s strong willed child and cleaning up toys for her means that mom has to say exactly which toy to put where.
One of my friends always says of her boys, “their words are their actions.” And that is so true of my toddler as well. When he’s frustrated or feeling ignored, his whirlwind behavior appears in full force. When he feels listened to and respected, he is more apt to play neatly and clean up when he is finished. Sometimes emotional turmoil comes out as a physical whirlwind…and by taking time to be present with my son, I can often alleviate the feelings that prompt his actions.
I would recommend having boxes or baskets of toys so you can just scoop them up without too much effort. I have some that the toddlers can reach and the older toys are less accessible. Also, I let the older boys have time in their room when they can close the door and play lego (or just have time when the toddlers can’t go in.) Also ‘tidy up time’ is great and often you kids love putting them back in the box (with quite a lot of help!)
I read somewhere once that kids today have way too many toys. Sometimes, I think that kids get overstimulated by all the choices there are to play with and then end up going from one thing to another without really engaging with the toy. I recognized this in my own son and decided to put about 90% of our toys away in a big garbage bag in the basement. Every few weeks I rotate the toys and bring out “new” ones. My son is so excited on toy “switch” day and I’ve really noticed a difference in how long he plays with things!
It is frustrating when children appear to be just emptying toys out of the boxes for no “adult” reason. However sometimes it is part of a child making sense of the world, sometimes referred to as schemas. Perhaps instead offer an activity designed to allow children to empty and fill a variety of containers.
A lot of time, my hurricane toddler just doesn’t know how to play with the toys and is searching for a toy she does know how to use. If I sit down with her and help her explore a toy — teach her how to play with it, and stay with her for awhile, the hurricane stops. Later, when she’s finished, she’ll willingly help me pick up her toys and tidy the space again. This seems to be a normal phase every child goes through.
Shared by Deborah, mother to 2 boys (7 and 5 year old) and 3 girls (9, 3 and 1 year old),
author at Mommy Crusader and her Knights and Ladies.
Follow Deborah through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
Often I find that pulling/dumping everything out and putting it away again is just part of play. We make cleaning up part of our routine before nap time and bed time. We sing a song (“Clean Up, Pick Up, Put Away…” from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) and keep singing until everything is in its place.
Children love to make messes no doubt. In the beginning, I used to feel like I am hindering my child’s learning by stopping him from making a mess but then… we had another child and then another and I found myself living in a children’s home as their hostage! We have had to change our tactics for our children so many times now and though, I don’t guarantee that this is the perfect solution but this is something what is working for us now. ‘A place for everything and everything in it’s place’, is our new rule. Children learn by example and the more pronounced the example, the easier it is. We now mention that we will end our activity by clearing up everything. We usually work in three steps so the last step is always, ‘Put everything back’ now.
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Mihaela runs Best Toys 4 Toddlers blog and loves to come up with new ideas how to use old toys her 2 daughters keep leaving on the floor to slip over. She loves them despite the fact that they call her mommy few hundred times a day, and it makes her nuts.