Toy Story

Ellie has a bad habit of tipping the contents of toy boxes on the floor then walking away without having played with the toys much, if at all. It’s a particular problem here as we have so little space. If we let stuff pile up we’ll start tripping over it. Then, as the teddies & toy trains pile higher & higher, we’ll end up not being able to move & will find ourselves walled up inside. Again.

We’ve been trying to get her to tidy up afterwards, to put the toys back in the box. She’s nearly 3 so she should be able to do that now, right?

We haven’t had much success.

“Ellie, will you pick the <play> food up please?”


She’s a good girl – as she’ll tell you herself – but, like any 2-year-old, she has her moments

“Ellie, please pick the food up”

“No. I don’t want to!”

“Ellie, you tipped it on the floor; you should put it back”

Appealing to logic to a 2-year-old. Yeah, that’s going to work…

“No. You do it!”

Then she goes upstairs to get ready for bed with Jake & the Mummy, while I clear up after dinner. And tidy up Ellie’s toys.

But no more! We’ve decided to get stroppy!

So next time we added:

“Ellie, if you don’t clear up your food we’re going to take it away”


“Ellie, Daddy will take it away” (Daddy shoots the Mummy a look that says: “Thanks!” Sarcastically) “& you won’t be able to play with it any more. Isn’t that right, Daddy?”

I understand cabinet collective responsibility & the need for parental unity & all that, although I can’t help feeling a bit like Nick Clegg.

“Yes, that’s right. I will take your food away”



“Ellie, do you understand that we will take those toys away & you won’t be able to play with them any more?”

“Yes. That’s OK”.

She called our bluff! She’s only 2, for crying out loud!

Note To Self: Never play poker with Ellie. Unless she’s on my team…

Then they all trotted off upstairs as usual & I wore some more holes in my jeans clearing up toys. As usual.  Although I did take the food away. For a few days

You see what we’re up against here?


6 thoughts on “Toy Story”

  1. Seren will be 4 in March and is only just learning to tidy toys up. Christmas has been a godsend (haha a pun!) as she’s had so many toys she likes she only allowed to get another out if she tidies her first up (it’s things like dinosaurs, lego and cars so really not practical having more than one lot out at a time).
    The good thing is the boys see Seren and have caught on- I was surprised tonight that after throwing the cars all over the lounge Tom was more than happy to tidy them up?!.
    I guess the only real option is the “let’s tidy them up together” thing?
    Good luck!

  2. Our almost 2 year old has always loved putting things into things, and consequently is great at clearing up (when asked). Wish I could say the same about her big sister, who’s always been really bad for tipping things out and moving on to something else.

    I share your pain

    1. Thanks, it seems to be a common problem. Actually that’s something she really enjoys too, funnily enough. She’s going through a bit of a stroppy phase at the moment, especially in the evenings, so maybe it’s just a temporary thing. Thanks for the feedback 😉

  3. Oh dear!!!!! In exactly the same boat as you with my just turned three year old – when I ask her to tidy she says she’s too tired!!!!! The other day she said “I tidy up at nursery. I don’t tidy up at home!!!!!!”

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