Are you tired of stepping on wooden blocks, legos, and plastic action figures lying around your home? Reducing toy clutter is really about more than keeping your home neat.
Did you know that too many toys can affect your child’s development and their ability to enjoy life? It’s true.
For toddlers and preschoolers, an overload of playthings can be overwhelming and distracting. “They pick up one toy, drop it, and move on. They can’t focus on using any of their things to the fullest,” says Margaret Sheridan, Ph.D., chair of the human development department at Connecticut College, in New London. Toy overload can lead kids age 6 and older to think that everything is replaceable and nothing is valuable.– Taming Toy Overload by Katy Koontz <— Read the full story
Another study found that children with toy clutter get distracted easily and miss out on quality playtime, according to the University of Toledo in Ohio.
The research confirms what many parents and experts have long noticed. When children have fewer choices, they tend to play with each object longer and express more creativity.
They even take better care of their toys instead of assuming that a replacement is on hand.
Ready to learn how to conquer those mountains of dolls and dinosaurs?
Are you ready for playtime to be more rewarding?
Do you want to teach your children values that will help them grow up happier and more successful?
Below is a guide to reducing toy clutter.
Reducing Toy Clutter
- Focus on quality. Be selective about the toys you choose to keep. Discard anything your children have outgrown or broken. Hold on to the ones that stimulate your child’s imagination and social skills rather than providing mostly passive entertainment.
- Wait until bedtime. It’s great if your child is ready to participate in the selection process, but until then you might have to act on your own. Your child will probably not even notice they’re missing a stuffed animal they haven’t touched in years.
- Rotate your collection. One effective strategy is to keep out only a portion of your child’s toys at any time and store the rest. Everything will seem new each time you switch them out.
- Display your treasures. Arrange toys in a logical order in small stations with individual themes. Your child will spend more time playing and less time dumping bins out onto the floor to check what’s on the bottom.
- Share the profits. How can you motivate your child to winnow down their toys on their own? Ask for their help selling the rejects online or at a garage sale. Give them a portion of the proceeds or put the money towards an outing or some new sports equipment that they want.
- Swap with friends. Consider setting up an exchange with other parents in your neighborhood or at your child’s school. Box up toys you’re discarding or storing and give them away permanently or temporarily.
- Donate to charities. Decluttering can also teach your child about giving. Create a list of worthy causes that accept used toys and let your child pick which one to support.
Preventing New Toy Clutter:
- Plan for special occasions. Birthdays and holidays could undo all your hard work. Find out what your child wants most. Make a short list and stick to it.
- Advise the grandparents. Do you have well-meaning family and friends who add to the mess? Let them know that you’re trying to reduce your consumption.
- Test it out. It’s easier to say goodbye to a video game or science kit when your child knows it’s just visiting. You can subscribe to monthly toy rental services online or check to see what your local library has to offer.
- Favor experiences. Consider arranging activities instead of giving material goods. Take your children to concerts and horse farms to celebrate birthdays or outstanding report cards.
- Encourage reading. Giving your child a love for reading may be the most enriching gift of all. A library card takes up very little space.
Cutting down on incoming toys and thinning out your child’s current stock will help your child to engage in more constructive and creative play.
Your whole family will also enjoy a tidier home and less stress.
Try Mila Kunis + Ashton Kutcher’s Method – ‘No Presents’ Christmas
Before you judge keep reading. I know I too had a “How Cruel” moment before I read the article on Snapchat. And that is coming from a self-procalimed Minimalist.
“So far, our tradition is no presents for the kids,” Kunis said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. Mom to 4-year-old daughter, Wyatt, and 2-year-old son Dmitri, Kunis says she and Kutcher are determined to not raise entitled kids—and are learning from the mistakes of Christmases past.Why Mila Kunis + Ashton Kutcher do a ‘no presents’ Christmas by Heather Marcoux <—- read the full story
It is actually kind of ironic that I passed judgement so quickly just by reading the title.
Just this last Christmas we took this exact approach with our kids. In-fact my son and step-daughter got one thing for Christmas from us. Just one thing.
Well they got a few small items but mostly candy and chocolates.
However, the ‘one thing’ they did each get both costed a lot of money. For example my son wanted a new Gaming Computer and my step-daughter wanted a new Laptop, one of the all-in-ones.
We ended up paying $1200 for both presents so there was no way on God’s green earth we was buying them more presents.
Even though they aren’t little kids anymore, my son is 11 and my step-daughter is 14, they still tend to get way too much stuff at Christmas time.
When it came to grandparents we asked that they keep it simple and only get them a gift card. Preferably a gift card to a restaurant or online portal.
One thing that drives me crazy is spending money on things that just turn into clutter.
When my son and my daughter, not my step-daughter, were younger I always kept toy clutter to a minimum. If I had to pick it up it went in the trash.
Believe me I threw a lot of of toys away. I know that may sound cruel but what are we really teaching our kids if we allow them to be distracted by the toy clutter?