Link of the Month – Too Many Toys? This Could be the Solution for Less.

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Link of the Month – Too Many Toys? This Could be the Solution for Less.

Sometimes my husband and I wonder why our kids have so many toys. And the answer is simple: we either bought them or our children received them as gifts from family and friends. Our kids are lucky to be able to have so many toys, but as parents, we have to draw the line somewhere.

When I feel overwhelmed by the toys that we have, I reorganize them, throwing and donating some in the process. Now that my daughter is not a baby anymore I am trying to get rid of as many toys for younger children as possible.

Last year we made a rule that for each toy received as a present two old ones have to leave our house. And we remember this rule most of the time and act accordingly. Another rule that we made was to not buy too many toys for Christmas and birthdays.

For example, this past Christmas, the kids received presents from their Canadian and Romanian grand-parents and from their uncle, aunt, and their respective spouses. I also did a gift exchange for kids with three of my friends. In addition, Santa brought presents for their stockings and we gave one present to each of them. So  they received two new toys each only from us. Plus the other toys… and you know what? They had PLENTY of toys.

I confess that I took away three of my daughter’s new presents (craft supplies) right after she received them and put them in the storage room. I will give them to her when she is a little bit older and will be able to play with and enjoy them properly. My daughter did not even notice that there were presents missing. She was 2 and a half years old at Christmas and she had plenty of toys (that day and the following days) that her and her brother played with.

On this note, I would like to share with you a site that I just discovered: Living Well Spending Less  The site was founded by Ruth Soukup. She has two young girls and lives in Florida with her family. She blogs about organization, time management, cleaning, budgeting and money saving, DIY projects, and easy recipes.

Once I discovered Ruth’s site it was hard to stop reading her posts as I found many useful articles:

31 days of living well and spending zero

How to create a cleaning schedule

7 smart things to teach kids about money

How to cut your grocery bill in half

One of the articles that resonated the most with me (from the ones I read so far) is the one entitled “Why I took all my kids’ toys away and why they won’t get them back”. This article is complementary with my thoughts about my children having too many toys and I completely agree with Ruth’s approach.

Here is the article. After you read it, please make sure to read the comments as well.

My husband I talked about this and we decided that starting with the month of March (so in less than one month) we will do a similar experiment with our two children who will be 3 years old and 6 years old in June.

The kids and us will organize the toys together at the beginning of March. We will donate or throw the ones they outgrew. We will not buy any new toys until the end of the year, except one for each of them for each of the following: Easter, their birthday, start of school in September, and Christmas.

Also, all of us will organize the toys again in September and remove the ones the children outgrew. Hopefully we should be able to also continue in 2016 spending less money on toys and organize them twice a year. Together, as a family.

I think this experiment will do us good. The kids will learn to organize toys and to let some of them go to other homes that will enjoy them as much as we did.

And in the end will have less stuff. Which will make room for more love 🙂 .

What about you, do you think your kids have too many, enough, or too little toys? What did you think about this article? Would you try something similar with your kids?

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2016-10-19T08:29:36+00:00 By |Categories: Link of the month, Love and parenting|2 Comments

About the Author:

Alina Muresan is a Holistic Nutritional Consultant who specializes in family nutrition and health. Visit her website, Orgali.ca to find great advice on your child's nutrition and delicious recipes that are healthy and fast!

2 Comments

  1. Petra Fitzpatrick March 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    here is what I think about it:

    First of all, do you mean less in every field, with all the toys or just specific ones? What is your opinion on Lego, for example?

    Secondly, I agree in general. However, in my opinion there is more to it than just saying “Too many toys? This could be the solution for less.”

    In order to show you that I know what I am talking about in this particular field I will give you a bit of my background before I get into more detail:

    I am a Kindergarten Teacher with a European education (4 years). I have been working in Canada as a certified Early Childhood Educator for many years and still am with two kids of my own.

    Enough of my background, back to the point:

    There are many more things to consider (just as important) to ensure a creative and educational play environment such as:

    1. Stimulating toys, no broken toys, missing pieces, etc.
    2. No Plastic toys
    3. No TV
    4. Toys with which children can develop creative play and open up to role-play
    5. Work less

    In detail this means:

    Stimulating toys, no broken toys, missing pieces, etc.:
    Kids can get overwhelmed when toys are thrown together without a discernible system (children like structure). If children don’t see where the toys go or if they are not sorted they will be overwhelmed. The same goes for broken toys/ missing pieces or stimulating toys. As parents we have to buck up and throw out broken toys and instead give them toys to stimulate their brain activity.
     
    I am currently running a Preschool from home and probably have too many toys in your opinion. I disagree and here is why:

    Everything is nicely organized, children love to play with all the toys and once it’s time for clean-up the children know where to put them. The toys are stimulating all their senses and the children are encouraged to role-play, which is important for their development. 

    One of my former co-workers was taught that she should frequently switch around the play corners and toys otherwise the children will get bored. From my experience and watching the children afterwards I must say “wow, was she ever wrong”. The look on the children’s faces was disoriented and lost. They didn’t know where toys were and how to clean up the toys they were playing with. In the end they just threw the toys into any shelf available because they didn’t know where else to put them anymore. My group was used to a structure, it gave them security. They didn’t get overwhelmed because they felt safe and loved.

    Plastic Toys: 
    In North America there is a tendency to overload with plastic toys. Personally I can’t stand plastic toys at all. Children can’t get creative with them and they break easily. Why not use nature or wooden toys? Again, in my experience the kids have the ability to get more creative, less frustrated that it breaks and nature is free. The best “toy” you can give them is fresh air and exercise.

    TV:
    Cut down on TV time. Numerous times I have heard “they don’t have enough things to play with” so TV becomes the number 1 toy.

    As a European I have to say it disturbs me a bit that in most North American houses there is a TV in every single room. Why? Most of the time TV is considered a form of entertainment or it’s simply blaring in the background.

    Kids who grow up with it think it’s normal. Most of the children don’t even watch, they just walk by and it does not contribute to the children’s development whatsoever. Adults should consider cutting back on certain shortcuts. When it comes to TV, less is more! Spend more time together as a family.

    Work less or have one Parent be available:
    As hard as this may be, think about making one parent available full-time or at least be available at all times. Cutting back on work (if possible) or being “on call” will do the children a world of good. Many parents feel guilty and buy toys (material things) as a “bribe” and think that will make it all better. Again, children may play with the toys for a little bit but ultimately it is their family they need, not more toys.

    As another example for nature as the best toy: In Germany someone came up with a so-called “Waldkindergarten” (Forest Kindergarten). Children spend time in the forest during their preschool time and the only toy available to them is their natural environment and children love it! They also love playing inside, with a structural play environment.

    I believe that if it is done the right way, children will flourish and learn and have fun at the same time. I think parents should dial back and let children just be children. I had a happy childhood, without huge amounts of toys but what we did have was stimulating, most importantly, my Mom was home with us. Just trust your own instincts and don’t get overwhelmed by the flood of advice from books or blogs (nowadays). Go with your gut and your children will enjoy their childhood and have fun growing up. 🙂

    • Alina March 5, 2015 at 6:36 am - Reply

      Thank you for the helpful comments, Petra.

      The blog post is based on my experience. We had too many toys and we decided it was time to act and make a change. Lego is no exception.

      The idea of having a forest near the house is wonderful. It would be awesome if we would all have that option.

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