Are you tired of stepping on wooden blocks and plastic action figures lying around your living room floor? Reducing toy clutter is really about more than keeping your home neat. Too many playthings can affect your child’s development and their ability to enjoy life.
A recent study found that children with too many toys get distracted easily and miss out on quality playtime, according to the University of Toledo in Ohio.
The research confirms what many parents and experts have long noticed. When children have fewer choices, they tend to play with each object longer and express more creativity. They even take better care of their toys instead of assuming that a replacement is on hand.
Learn how to conquer those mountains of dolls and dinosaurs. You’ll make playtime more rewarding and teach your children values that will help them to grow up happier and more successful.
- Focus on quality. Be selective about the toys you choose to keep. Discard anything your children have outgrown or broken. Hold on to the ones that stimulate your child’s imagination and social skills rather than providing mostly passive entertainment.
- Wait until bedtime. It’s great if your child is ready to participate in the selection process, but until then you might have to act on your own. Your child will probably not even notice they’re missing a stuffed animal they haven’t touched in years.
- Rotate your collection. One effective strategy is to keep out only a portion of your child’s toys at any time and store the rest. Everything will seem new each time you switch them out.
- Display your treasures. Arrange toys in a logical order in small stations with individual themes. Your child will spend more time playing and less time dumping bins out onto the floor to check what’s on the bottom.
- Share the profits. How can you motivate your child to winnow down their toys on their own? Ask for their help selling the rejects online or at a garage sale. Give them a portion of the proceeds or put the money towards an outing or some new sports equipment that they want.
- Swap with friends. Consider setting up an exchange with other parents in your neighborhood or at your child’s school. Box up toys you’re discarding or storing and give them away permanently or temporarily.
- Donate to charities. Decluttering can also teach your child about giving. Create a list of worthy causes that accept used toys and let your child pick which one to support.
- Plan for special occasions. Birthdays and holidays could undo all your hard work. Find out what your child wants most. Make a short list and stick to it.
- Advise the grandparents. Do you have well-meaning family and friends who add to the mess? Let them know that you’re trying to reduce your consumption.
- Test it out. It’s easier to say goodbye to a video game or science kit when your child knows it’s just visiting. You can subscribe to monthly toy rental services online or check to see what your local library has to offer.
- Favor experiences. Consider arranging activities instead of giving material goods. Take your children to concerts and horse farms to celebrate birthdays or outstanding report cards.
- Encourage reading. Giving your child a love for reading may be the most enriching gift of all. A library card takes up very little space.
Cutting down on incoming toys and thinning out your child’s current stock will help your child to engage in more constructive and creative play. Your whole family will also enjoy a tidier home and less stress.