Tips for Children's Toys

Toys have a way of multiplying and ending up all over the house. Here are a few tips to wrangle them in.

1. Minimize the number of places that you keep toys in your home. Count all the places that you keep toys. For example, the living room, bathroom, outdoors, bedrooms, etc. You may be surprised at all the toy locations. See if you can consolidate where you keep toys. For example, toys are only kept in the playroom, a special spot outdoors, and the children’s bedroom. Ideally, keep the number of places that you put toys to five locations or less.

2. Pile toys all in one place then decide what to keep. Get all the toys together in one place so you and your children and can see how much you have. It might be astonishing how much you’ve accumulated!

3. Model for your children how to discard. Children, like adults, have to learn how to tidy. You will be their teacher! Be transparent with your children that together you are going to let go of toys that are no longer special. In my experience, children usually loose interest in the discarding process after only a few minutes. If this happens, continue to discard without them as long as they are still in the room with you. This way they can see what you are doing even if they aren't participating. At the end, show them what you plan to get rid of and let them keep any items that they still want.

4. Be a gatekeeper. Prevent the over-accumulation of toys in the first place. If possible, save the acquirement of new toys for special occasions. Alternatively, make "toys" out of everyday items. Most children love cardboard boxes! Finding natural treasures in nature is always fun too.

5. Make sure a child has a special place to keep personal items. A lot of toys may be communal, but it’s nice for children to have a drawer or special area where they can keep their items. It’s an act of reverence towards children to give them personal space. For example, Johnny has his special drawer where he gets to keep all his favorite items and no one else gets to use them without his permission. I find that children appreciate having a place that they can control.

Finally, children grow up so quickly so let's embrace (responsibly) this phase of their lives.

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