“My kids have too many toys!”
“The kids don’t play with their toys, they just throw them around.”
“The kids leave their toys all around the house.”
I hear you! Let’s face it. Toys are a fact of life while children are growing. And as the children grow, their developmental needs change, so there is a constant need for new toys. And if you have children of different ages and developmental stages, the number of toys and toy categories expands. But toys don’t have to get out of control. Here’s a starting point.
Reduce the number of toys you have out available for play at any one time. I recommend having no more than one third of toys accessible, and rotating these now and then. How often will depend on the child’s age and your desire. But you’ll know when it’s time to get some new ones out and put some away. The “new” will be greeted like long lost friends, seen with fresh eyes. And you won’t have so much to pack away at the end of each day.
Rethink the rules around play and toys. Instead of packing up only at the end of the day, use the natural intervals of the day – meals, outings, etc. – to signify a quick pack up. Allow plenty of time for this, and make it fun. Use the tricks of the kindergartens. Play music, set a timer and be flexible about things that “under construction”. Where could they be stored without being broken up?
Reorganise toy storage to make it easier for children to access their things and to put them away again. Deep toy chests are child and toy unfriendly, but several smaller open containers are useful. Use labels children understand. Perhaps they could create the labels themselves.
After all, toys are for fun and learning. If that’s not happening, then it’s time to reduce, rethink and reorganise.