The holidays are just around the corner and now is the best time to go through the kids toys, purge, and organize them. Where to start and how to be successful?Let’s start by thinking through how to best approach this for your family and then get to work.
Many parents give their children many gifts and toys throughout the year. I believe that in our American culture it is easy (not very expensive) to get kids toys at any time of the year, with no special occasion needed. That is why many households are overloaded with kids stuff. But studies show that too many toys can overwhelm children, create clutter and even lead to behavior problems. Research has shown that children are happiest when they have a limited number of toys to play with.
Believe me when I say that it is okay for your to have a space in your home that is not covered in toys 24/7. Parents, you deserve to come home to an organized, peaceful environment. Don’t think you are depriving your kids , if they didn’t get the latest model of a toy or a game. Kids do not need a hundred toys out at the same time to have fun. The opposite of that is more likely true.
So what should you do about your childrens’ toys?
You might have a panic attack just with the thought of more toys getting into your home this holiday. Where will you put all this “stuff”?
You can involve your kids in the process as much or as little as you want. If they are old enough to understand, it is important to teach them the value of giving away things they no longer need. It is important for them to focus on the things they love. Giving them the option to save all their favorite toys first, will make them realize the ones they don’t play with and the process of letting go will be easier on them.
However, if they are little, they might become too emotional about their things and will want to keep them all. If that is the case, you will need to decide for them.
So now it is time to do a toy clean out!
Sit and watch
Watch your kids play for a couple of hours or days. What do they play with most of the time? What are the toys they rarely or never get out?
Eliminate and reduce duplicates: If the toy has the same purpose and you have many of them, just keep one. You should also purge toys that are not age appropriate. You can get rid of broken toys or if they are missing pieces.
Divide the leftover toys into categories like fine motor skills, pretend play, arts and crafts, music instruments, and others.
To maintain an organized environment I suggest creating a toy rotation system. Store the overflow toys in labeled containers in a nearby closet. That way, you will reduce the number of toys they have access at a certain time and they will be able to clean them up easily.
Showcase your toys in accessible shelves at your kids’ height. This will encourage free play.
It can be overwhelming to sort through toys. Take your time and don’t give up! Start on one small area, and move from there. If you have a couple of hours to get this project done, collect all the toys your kids have and put them all in one place. Then it will be easier for you to realize how much stuff your kids already have and help you be mindful about future purchases.
Be mindful when buying toys
It is never a good idea to purchase gifts, toys, or anything just because it is a “good deal.” If the kids don’t really need it, it will just create more clutter in your home. Encourage grandparents and close family members to give your kids experiences instead of toys. A membership to the local zoo, or a museum would be great. If they want to try a new class, or sport, ask them to help on the tuition instead. If a material gift is inevitable, create a list of what the kids and you think will actually be useful for the next year.
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