When you are a parent of small children, the amount of toys and clutter kids receive and create can be overwhelming. From birthday celebrations to holiday gifts, kids receive way too much “stuff”. To manage it all, here are a few suggestions to keep kids engaged, organized and excited about toys, old and new.
Most children receive gifts from extended family, grandparents and friends. Instead of an overwhelming pile of toys amidst all the wrapping paper and boxes, why not collect them ahead of time and determine which gifts your child will receive for an occasion. It helps to lay out all the gifts to determine if there are duplicates, if they are age appropriate, and represent your values and priorities as a family. For example, grandma may find the burping, laughing monster to be entertaining, but this gift may not the behavior you’d like to encourage at home. Collecting gifts ahead of time and deciding which gifts are appropriate helps manage the amount of gifts your child will receive at once, while also ensuring they are in-line with your families values.
For gifts held back, consider rolling them out throughout the year and not only on special occasions. Place a new toy on your kid’s dresser- just because, or introduce a new toy or craft on a rainy day to keep them engaged. Toys can also be saved for a sibling or even re-gifted. And, if you received a duplicate toy, it can replace the original toy if it becomes destroyed or lost.
You probably know someone with a similar-aged child or children who may be looking to refresh their items. Set up a toy or book swap with friends. Each offers 2-5 items to swap and drop them off at each other’s front door. Encourage your kid(s) to pick the toy or book to swap with their friend by making them part of the fun and to ensure you’re not offering their favorite toy or book of the moment. It’s a cost-effective way to share items and stay connected with friends during COVID-19.
Do you notice your kids’ “favorite” toy in the closet corner after a few weeks of play? Try going around the house looking for toys that have been forgotten and hide them. Every quarter, collect forgotten toys and replace them with hidden ones. Your kids will be excited to be reunited with their once favorite game or book or toy – having previously forgotten and abandoned them. Having too many options can be overwhelming or if your kid is always looking for new toys – this routine brings new life and appreciation back to older one’s – making old toys, new again!