Friday, August 22, 2014
I took this picture today. It's all my kids indoor toys in one place.
We have a seven year old, five year old, four year old, one and a half year old and one on the way. It is tempting to think that we "need" lots of toys. I especially felt like we "needed" a lot of toys after our decision to cut waaaaaayyyyyy back on television. I was thinking: "what in the world are they going to do all day?!"
Scott and I talked and we wanted to buy a few QUALITY toys. We purchased: Legos, tinkertoys, k'nex and magnaformers-all toys you "build things" with. We also have been very particular with teaching the kids to pick up after playing and to put each item back in the right container explaining that we aren't going to replace toys they don't take care of.
I would like to clarify that we do have a tub of "outside toys" (like the blue one pictured here) with balls and stuff, bikes and scooters, a few puzzles, books and coloring stuff that are not pictured here but can still be considered toys. All of these "toys" have their proper spots in and outside the home too that I try to be on the kids about keeping them in their proper domain and picked up (we are having a shed built right now to put their bikes and scooters in which will make it much easier to keep them in one place.)
Here are some questions people have asked me in regards to toys:
Q: What about stuffed animals?
A: Our "stuffed animals rule" is very simple: Each child gets ONE and only one stuffed animal. If they fall in love with a new one then I say: "that's fine but we have to toss the other one." Johnny has a piggy, Rhea a teddy bear, Ricky a puppy and Charis a duckling. Each of them remain on their beds.
Q: How do you know which toys to keep and which ones to get rid of?
A: Another simple answer. If they don't play with it often (like every week) I get rid of it. I also give them a warning if there is some toy I am constantly picking up that if they do not take care of it and be responsible with putting it away, that I will toss it. Whenever our blue toy tub pictured above gets too full I go through and we do a purge. The kids help me and we honestly evaluate which toys are played with and which ones can go.
Q. What do you do for Birthdays and Christmas? Do you tell everyone not to get your kids toys? And what do you get them instead?
A. Scott and I are probably the least sentimental/non-gift people I have ever met. No joke. We don't do anything on our anniversary (not even a card), we don't do anything for our birthdays and we don't do Christmas presents. With our kids we again are trying to teach them that it is about quality not quantity when it comes to gifts so we ask each set of grandparents to buy ONE special gift for each kid on their birthday and Christmas. We usually help in the process of picking it out. (Although sometimes you don't know what your kids will play with until it's in the home.) Limiting gifts REALLY helps and we are thankful that the grandparents are on the same page as us. I think that if they weren't on the same page I would say something like: "We don't want a lot of clutter and stuff in our home so if you purchase too many gifts I can't promise that they won't be re-gifted or given away."
A few final thoughts. I am seeking to increase my children's desires to read/look at books and so I am looking at investing in more books. I will do the same thing with books that I do with toys and make sure that we only have books the kids are reading.
Secondly, we may buy more quality toys as time goes on, but for now we are happy with what we have.
Thirdly, I realize this is not necessarily what other families like and that is fine :) My husband loves order and hates clutter and in an effort to make our home a haven for him I seek to get rid of what we don't need/use as much as possible. I realize not all husbands are like mine :)
Here are some benefits to less toys:
1. Your children become content with less.
2. They learn to take care of the toys they have because they don't have many.
3. There is much less mess, and therefore stress (this is probably my very favorite benefit).
4. It teaches them to be more imaginative and not think that they must have a million options in order to be entertained.
Any more questions? Leave them in the comments!