…the neighbour’s child, your son’s bestie, comes running out of your house crying crocodile tears because…your.son.broke.his.toy!  Said toy just happens to be one of the most coveted toys in the complex and costs in the region of R400-R500, not the cheapest!!!  The cherry on the top…I was standing talking to the mum of the boy who came out crying 😦  My heart sank.  There the kids were playing in our house and a prize toy was broken by my child.  In my mind, I was already thinking – am I expected to offer to buy another one or glue it back together myself or what???  Fortunately, the mother quickly said that it was already broken by one of the other kids in the complex and that they had attempted to glue it back on so obviously the glue didn’t hold too well and that it wasn’t Riley’s fault.  But it got me thinking – what do you do in a situation like this?  My kids have never been the ones to break their friends’ toys…well, not that I’m aware of…it’s always happened the other way around (unfortunately for us) – their toys get broken by other kids.  Now I understand that they’re all just kids and that you can’t exactly watch over them 24/7 and make sure that nobody breaks toys, but these toys costs money!  Unfortunately, due to some kids who don’t seem to be disciplined well enough in our complex, we’ve had to make rules around the boys’ toys.  As an example – Ethan’s leapfrog tv game is off limits during the week.  He’s allowed to play it on rainy days, public holidays and weekends and he’s only allowed to play with us – dad, mum or brother – or with one other kids in the complex, his bestie.  If any of the other kids are there, I don’t allow them to play because well, we’ve learned the hard way that they will in all likelihood break it.  I of course don’t tell Ethan the reason, but if he asks when they’re there, I just say no not today.  The mother that I was chatting to yesterday told me how this specific child has broken multiple things in their house including her son’s leap pad!!!!!  And when she’s told the parents, they do nothing about it.  So I told her our rule but I also felt bad in a way – singling out the “bad kid”.  I’m not sure what the right protocol is in situations like this…

What would you do?  Would you go about it the way we do – certain toys being off limits?  Would you chat to the parents and if you did and nothing happened, then what?  Would you keep your kids indoors and not let them socialise with the “naughty kids”?  Would you stop buying your kids toys?

I really feel sorry for the parents of this boy whose toy was broken yesterday because they’re the ones who buy their kids “fancy toys” often, and I can’t tell them what rules to use, but should they stop buying their kids fancy toys because of other kids???

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8 responses »

  1. halberts2014 says:

    Different rules for different toys. Liam has tried to take his cool stuff to school or aftercare but he fortunately understands when we say that someone might break it and it’s best if he play with it at home.
    I don’t think the other parents should feel limited in what toys they buy their kids, but I do think they should implement the same rules as you, and even I. Some toys are just not for group play.
    I do remember when Liam was little and he played with the neighbours across the road. He wanted to take one of the boys old cars outside and was scolded because it was “an inside toy” Liam didn’t understand, he was only 3 and he plays with his old cars outside all the time, so when he came back crying and the Mum explained what had happened, I must say I did have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth because when her kids come to my house they drag ALL of Liam’s stuff out into the garden. Just because Liam has lots of toys (only kid syndrome) doesn’t mean that they should be cared for any less.

    • Jodie says:

      Oooh yes – we have that problem too, even with two kids. Our boys have LOTS of kids and it’s almost as if the “problem kid” and his family have none. They want to play with ALLLL of our toys and I’ve had to stop that too! Thanks for giving your opinion 🙂

  2. MamaCat says:

    We pack toys by categories in different sealed plastic boxes: eg lego, playmobil, transformers, figurines, etc. So if there are toys I prefer not be shared, I take it away before the friends come over, and I am upfront with the visiting child and parents that these toys are off limits because they are easily broken or whatever the reason.
    If any toy on offer is broken, then so be it, and I do not expect the parents to pay for it, and neither will I offer if my child broke something that was freely offered to play. If my child broke their TV, then I would offer, because that was not on offer.
    Kids are kids and they very often break things. I expect it to happen.

    • Jodie says:

      Thanks for the comment 🙂 So similar to us except we don’t have different sealed plastic boxes. I guess the parents need to figure out how to handle it…not like I can tell them what to do!

      • halberts2014 says:

        The plastic tubs are great. Liam has 6 under his bed. Trains, train tracks, old lego, hotwheel cars, figurines, etc. The 3 tubs or new lego are on my dinningroom table. And these are little tubs. The are easily 1m long and deep too.
        Too many toys. We should sell them all and make the kids play outside like the good old days, LOL

      • Jodie says:

        I often tell them not to touch the toys and just to play outside with the sticks and stones 😉

    • This is exactly how we do it. There are toys just not on offer which stay in the bedroom/ upstairs and kids are not allowed to wander around my house 🙂 If it’s one child, they can go upstairs but i close my study, bedroom and store room.

      Any toys downstairs in the pool room are free for all and things do break and that’s fine. They are children.

      • Jodie says:

        Unfortunately, we don’t have enough space to segregate toys in specific rooms. Toys stay in the kids’ rooms and that’s where they go to access them whether they’re on their own or with kids.

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