It can be very frustrating for some moms when their toddler goes through what is called an empty out phase. The empty out phase is very serious development work for your little one despite how frustrating it is. Emptying out means your toddler likes to turn things over and dump them out. Toddlers learn how to empty things long before they learn how to put things back in or even want to.
Toddlers are demolition experts. When my daughter went through this phase, it was hilarious – at least for us. We would set up her playpen every hour or so, by putting everything ‘away.’ We would restack things, put items back in buckets and bags and whatever else. Then we would put her back into her playpen – she would like up like a Christmas tree and cheerfully spend the next 30 to 45 minutes destroying the order by dumping everything out and making a huge mess.
This is a great way to channel this particular development phase. You are encouraging it without letting them endanger themselves. This phase is one of the primary reasons why you should always childproof your cabinets, your drawers and other areas where a child can get their hands on cleaning fluids, knives, scissors, glass and other breakables.)
Invest in Boxes
Toddlers love boxes. They love to empty things so pick up boxes and scraps and fill them up so your toddler can cheerfully empty them. Keep them away from your bookcases unless you want to spend a few hours every day reorganizing all of your books. Keep in mind that while your toddler loves emptying things, he or she is not being contrary by not bothering to put them back. They are also not being difficult when they are emptying things out when you are putting things back in.
You can talk to them about putting them in and you can make a game of it, but the putting in phase comes some time after the emptying out. Don’t get angry with them and don’t get frustrated. Just remember, as long as what they are emptying out is just toys, scraps and other items that you’ve provided and that they can’t hurt themselves – just get a good laugh out of it and have fun.
Putting in comes soon enough!
How did you cope with the emptying out phase in your toddler?