After taking a look around the house this past year, I, once again, came to the conclusion that my children have far too many toys. Reviewing items for the blog has added to that factor of course. But, this year we decided to start scaling back. I read an article on Yahoo! Parenting and knew exactly what she was referring to. Yes! My kids have too many toys!
Encouraging Kids Less is More With Toys
Now, what am I going to do about it? Actually, once I pointed it out to the girls enough times they agreed. Jaden (11) and Jaci (9) have slowly begun to go through each room in order to start the process. Beginning in their own rooms, they have made 3 piles: keep, trash, donate. Each toy is looked over, thought about, and then compartmentalized. It’s their system and it’s going well. We used it during our last move and it must have made an impact. Not to mention, our recent treks downtown to donate goods to the homeless has inspired them to understand a little more.
Therefore, as I read the article, “Does Your Child Have Too Many Toys?” on Yahoo! Parenting I could resonate so well with the words she wrote. The first line that grabbed my attention was this one:
“When we met for a play date, her 2-year-old had a small set of blocks and one doll — and the kid was so imaginative and expressive that it made me anxious about how many toys my daughter had.“
When I watch Joeli (5) play with her toys, I can immediately see this. She plays with the same sort of toys over and over again. Little character figurines she can hold in her hand are her favorite. And even with her speech disorder, she can make this little figures hold conversations with each other all day. Not to mention, her imagination is incredible. I don’t have that sort of creative play in me. But even with tons of other toys around her, these are where she focuses most of her playtime.
One point the author of the article suggests is to “change the way you look at toys.” I believe after last Christmas, looking at the piles of toys the kids opened, this happened for me. This past year I looked for toys that were educational. Sure, there were still a few of the “I really want this” toys. I even caved and bought Jaci an American Girl doll. She worked hard doing chores and earned it. It was a surprise trip to the store and she was overcome with joy. But those types of toys I can handle, for the most part.
Oh, and the fact about encouraging play is also a huge deal with me. Again, seeing how this has all been revealed to me over the past year, Colby and I have really been trying to focus on being encouragers. We do our best to talk to each child, observe them in their own self-play, and really take in what they desire most. We believe it is truly important to allow each one of them to grow and develop into who they are meant to become… not who we want them to be. I enjoy seeing the creativity and individualism coming out of each one of them.
But how is that coming into play this holiday season? Less is more. We challenged the kids during the summer to come up with just one gift they want for Christmas. Just one. As of today, we still only have a list of ideas from our oldest daughter. She just moved into a new apartment and is looking to decorate. That’s a little different. But the other ones, we have no idea what to buy. We simply know that they have enough toys. They know this too, hence the reason they can’t come up with their one gift.
To tell you the truth, it’s been a little stressful. Less pressure. We should have done it this way years ago. We always remind the kids that Christmas is not about the gifts under the tree, and this year I am hoping that can be fully understood.
Do your kids have too many toys?
Read the full article and much more on Yahoo! Parenting and follow @YahooParenting on Twitter for more articles on parenting.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.