I saw this interesting fact on the Container Store website. Wow! That is shocking but believable. I have kids and I don’t buy them many toys- but they have a lot anyway. Toys have been passed down from relatives and friends- which is my favorite way to get toys. And of course the birthdays and Christmas that often bring excess. So what do we do?
1. Pre-holiday Purge to Donate- A week or so before a gift receiving holiday or birthday, go through your child’s room WITH them. Not for them. Not when they are at school and can’t see what you are doing. It is extremely important that children learn the concept of letting go of things they no longer use or need. Donating also teaches them to share with children less fortunate than them.
2. Set limits- Sometimes it helps to create a certain amount of space for toys- and that is it. Cubbies, shelves, bins under the bed- whatever you decide is a good amount for toys. If there is no more room to fit new toys that are coming in, then something else has to leave. It is kind of like the one in- one out rule, but this helps kids prioritize what toys are most important to them. They may decide that getting rid of a huge stuffed animal is worth it if now 6 smaller toys fit in that space.
3. Trade- Ever notice that when you take your child to someone else’s house- they absolutely loves playing with all their friend’s toys? Organize a little trade amongst some families. Gather up the toys you want to let go of and come together in one place with all your give-aways. Then shop amongst the toys your friends no longer want. Just this weekend a friend mentioned her daughter wanted the Barbie Dreamhouse for Christmas- and sure enough another mom sitting right next to her was planning to get rid of the Barbie Dreamhouse her daughter no longer played with. Perfect! What a wonderful and green way to shop!
4. Buy less- Ever spend lots of money on a present and then watch your child have more fun playing with the box it came in than the actual toy? Have you watched your kid race through opening presents and they only want to play with one of them? More is overwhelming. Less helps you appreciate the special things you got.
Our children really do not need nearly as many toys as we get them. So buy less toys. Trade or give away the toys they have outgrown. Be selective of the toys that you do buy. Don’t go crazy for the hot new toy which usually turns out to be a flash in the toy hall of fame (or shame). Have more family experiences. Go for a walk together. Play at the park. Kids will remember the fun times they shared more than the toys they played with for 4 minutes.
Happy Holidays! May they be full of fun and loved ones.