THROUGH THE AGES
Watch as your child finds wonder in the smallest of objects in her environment and then wants to keep them close. Wanting to take a little piece of that experience home is not unusual for preschoolers. At this age, an object that is like gold one day, but may be forgotten about the next. Either left behind without a second thought or mourned over for a few minutes, preschoolers are very good at living in the moment but then easily move onto the next treasure.
School aged children are more inclined to create collections and have a harder time saying goodbye. Since they are learning all about sorting and classifying objects into groups at school, collections can help with this. In addition, there’s the thrill of the hunt as the child discovers another item to add to his collection and there’s the social aspect of maybe even trading items with a friend who has a similar collection. So, holding onto material objects at this age is quite common and forcing a child to part with it or them should be dealt with sensitively.
Teens are a mixed bag. Some are very casual when it comes to giving their material items away while others hold onto a torn pair of jeans because it reminds them of a special occasion. Some appear to never know where their possessions are, while others have a difficult time sharing with others. Some of this has to do with their individual temperament, with the way in which letting go of an object was handled in earlier years and also by the kind of modelling they’ve seen from the adults in their world.