Monday, October 7, 2013

How to keep toys at bay {Day 7 of 31 days of Revealing my “Secrets”}

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Ever have one of those days when you feel like the toy room has exploded? Are you one of those moms or babysitter that steps on that sharp lego or army man on the way through a dark hallway? Ouch…
With 4 children with 4 unique personalities and 4 different toy preferences the piles can accumulate very quickly.

My “Secrets” for keeping toys at bay in a home with 4 kids… Pick up: Seems like a simple rule, huh? Well, if you fail to teach your children to pick up their toys they will be one of those teens who throws EVERYTHING on the floor or leaves piles wherever they go. I grew up in a home with 9 children and often remember my momma teaching us from as little as 7 months old to put our toys away. When we were that little we had help, but it was still instilled in us that we should put things back where they belonged. If your child can throw a toy down on the floor they can be helped to put that toy back in the basket too. It’s important that we start teaching our children at a young age that this is their home too, and they need to help take care of it. No, the little ones won’t understand that concept, but they will learn young and realize that this is what they are supposed to do.IMG_3759
Organize: I believe some parents could help themselves by getting certain bins and helping their little ones organize their toys. Looking forward to sharing a post on organizational options sometime this month. We  have helped our children  find a place for every toy and they know exactly where to put it when they are through with it. As an example, my girls have a tub for kitchen stuff, princess dress-up, barbies, polly pocket, horses, and two shelves for all their doll house stuff. I believe, as parents, we are a defining factor in keeping our toy rooms organized. If we fail to give our children direction, why are we surprised when it is in upheaval?
Purge: I would have to say that this is my biggest toy “secret”…
It helps to weed through the toys often. We have always had the rule that if they get a new toy they give one to someone who needs toys or we send it to Goodwill. This has eliminated having too much to keep organized and clean. They actually look forward to this process now, and love picking out the old toy that they get to give away. Most cities have clothing closets or other non profit places that you can actually write notes to children with your toys and clothes. This option has become a fun ministry for our children.
IMG_3766Be consistent in this rule or you will accumulate your mountain again.
Rules: Our kids can only play with one toy set at a time. Meaning: they cannot play with the barbies, polly-pockets, and cars all at the same time. I firmly believe this instills in them a better imagination because they have to work at enjoying and playing with that particular set without tripping on and getting frustrated at a bazillion other toys scattered around. It also helps them play better with other children too.
Again, this may not work for you, but it does for us, and it is a huge relief to know that I don't have to worry about cleaning up their rooms, because they are usually very clean. Starting young is the key “secret”, and I give kuddos to my momma for reminding me of that even when Andrew was 8 months old!
So, jump into that toy bin and get rid of the piles that haven’t been played with in forever. Organize the remaining and watch your children build a better sense of appreciation for the toys he/she has & learn to use their imagination more.