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How do I help my 5 year old hoarder?

My daughter is five and has been showing signs of being a hoarder for a very long time. She will pick things up off of the sidewalk and want to keep them, like broken hair elastics or anything else she finds. Ew! When I cleaned her room last time I found bags with the little circles with the size that go around the neck of the hanger when you buy clothes... tons of them... It's physically painful for her to see these things get tossed; I have to clean her room when she isn't around. I know some of you will read this and say she cannot be a hoarder at five years old... and you may be right, I don't know. I do know a grown woman who is so bad that is has ruined her life... and I don't want to see my daughter walk that path. So I ask you, can a five year old be diagnosed as a hoarder... should I seek help to start treating her now?

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Asked by Anonymous at 3:09 AM on Jun. 24, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (20)
  • yes

    Answer by MamaAlice54 at 3:18 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

  • A lot of kids like to pick up things (rubbish?) and treasure it, but if your daughter's behaviour is really excessive, you may want to consider what is motivating this behaviour. Does she have loving security in her life? Sometimes a tendency to hoarde is indicative of a child with a shaky foundation; she wants to have things she can keep because they give her security that is lacking somewhere else in her life.

    Some hoarding IS normal. If you think it's really excessive (expecially if you feel it's getting worse) you should seek the opinion of a doctor or mental health professional.

    Answer by judimary at 3:20 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

  • No clue, I do know for certain that it can not make things worse to explore the possibility.

    Answer by truthteller0722 at 3:22 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

  • My son used to "make collections" of things at that age, and I think that's harmless and you should respect these little collections of things and do not throw them out. My son collected feathers, rocks, various things. But he grew out of it. We still have a page of feathers stuck on the bedroom wall. :)

    Answer by judimary at 3:22 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

  • I don't know. Some of this may be normal at that age, although some of the stuff she collects seems odd. DS does the sidewalk thing and would keep stuff (gross stuff) from the sidewalk if I didn't stop him. He likes to hold on to stuff too, but if I ask him to go through his toys or drawers (nightstand - lots of little things) he will get rid of stuff, though I have to go through it eventually to get rid of stuff he missed. He'd hold on to all kinds of weird things though if I let him...

    Maybe for now just teach her how to go through her stuff. Start small, then work up to more. "Today we're going to go through your books." Have her pick out a few she no longer wants to read or that are too babyish. "We're going to find toys you're too big for that we can give to other kids." Stuff like that.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:23 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

  • Yeah it's not just collections of things tho, it's literally anything. We got out a new pair of tights for her to wear to dance class today and she didn't want to throw away the cardboard insert that comes inside. I don't think she's getting worse, actually I think she might be getting a little better at throwing things away and we are working hard at helping her make sure her room is reasonably cleaned up each day. I just worry... I've thought about the security thing too and wondered what she could feel insecure about... she is so loved and (I would think) should feel so safe... but she's a very dramatic, emotional and artsy girl too. And I am so the opposite. So sometimes I wonder if it's partly a major difference in personalities.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 3:27 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

  • has there been anything traumatic that went on such as moving or a friend leaving anything like thatt? That could of been a trigger if that were true..

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 3:36 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

  • You might try contacting a behavioral specialist about it. It could be an indication of an axiety disorder, which can be present at a young age.

    Answer by SherriPie at 8:30 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

  • My great granddaughter does a little of this, and it is from insecurity and abandonment issues. Some of it is normal for the age, sometimes they outgrow it. If you are concerned about it, talk to your pediatrician.

    Answer by elasmimi at 9:09 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

  • We tell our 3yr old that objects need to stay where they are found, with their "family". She understands this and is happy to put things back so they can stay with their family. It's kind of cute. :)

    Answer by Happypancake at 9:41 AM on Jun. 24, 2011

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