Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Dealing with Toys
My two youngest children are 15 and almost 13, so really we are way out of the toy scene nowadays. But I was reminded about this a few weeks ago when I had my grandson here for a few days. I got out just one big Rubbermaid tote of blocks, wooden train tracks and Duplo Lego’s. And my living room was a disaster in no time at all.. LOL.. My thoughts, “Aw yes, I remember these days well”.
I was also reminded of this when I went to a friend’s house. She has twin boys, with lots of loving and adoring aunts who lavishly spend on the boys. This equals a house FULL of toys and stuffed animals and a constant issue in how to keep it all organized and some sense of order in the home.
I have this philosophy that I have developed after having 8 children and that is, “less is best”. Nothing like too many toys to make a child very confused. If the mess of toys seems overwhelming or confusing to me, you can bet it is even more so for the child.
Here are some of the ways I have dealt with this… get rid of toys that are no longer played with. Simplify your toys to just a few tried and true tested toys. Then keep those in totes and rotate them as your child has an interest in them. Things that I hung onto over the years were: Lego’s, wooden blocks, wooden train set, dolls and baby clothes and a couple misc. doll accessories, cars & trucks, various stuffed animals, a doll house w/wood furniture and a few little dolls and a farm animal set. Now of course my kids have outgrown these items and I keep only two totes with toys for visiting children and my grandchildren. But basically that was it. Other things certainly made their way into my home, but they never last too long before my kids lost interest. Then I gave them away. Keep the toys simple and this will make clean up time easy and the confusion down to a minimum.
As to how many toys to allow them to have out at once? Well, I had this rule. When I said it was time to clean up the toys I gave them 10 minutes to do the job. Any toys left out were put away in the other storage totes. I made sure that they could pick them up quickly and they had plenty of motivation to do so!
We live in a society that has says more and more is the goal. Children truly do not need a huge confusing mess of toys to play with all the time. One of my favorite book series to read to my children was the Little House on the Prairie Series (I read it countless time to them over the years). One thing I took note of was the small amount of toys Laura and Mary and Carrie grew up with. And they were happy, and found ways to occupy their time and used a lot of imagination, which is wonderful for a child. When life is simple children learn to use their minds and have fun with what they have. Plus it helps mom keep some type of order in the house as well.