With Saint Nicolas just past and Christmas still to come I am dreading even more toys coming into the house! They are everywhere!
Over the weekend the Littlins and I made a stealth effort at sorting some of their toys, books, games in the playroom. They have IKEA Expedit bookcase – the HUGE 5 by 5 compartment one- and it groaning under the weight of all the paraphernalia. Unfortunately they have inherited or learnt my hoarding qualities. Each piece of paper is very valuable and cannot be thrown out.
We made huge improvements though…ok, there was cajoling, threats, tears, rewards, punishment… (almost) all possible methods in a parent’s arsenal were deployed.
At one point, when the Littlins were having an unauthorised play intermission in the tidy up and I stepped on a duplo piece with bare feet, I flipped… comes with the territory of being Mum on the brink, and I chucked a load of the toys, papers, whatever was in front of me on the floor into the paper bin. The tears and heart-breaking sobs would melt the polar ice caps, let alone my hormonal heart. So I calmed down and we carried on. Now the playroom is much more presentable. Still far from perfect…but it is their fun room afterall!
During tidying up we talked about sorting the toys and giving away lots of them to poor children who won’t get presents for Christmas. After lots of questions the children, especially Little Miss, was sort of amenable to the idea. I don’t think Little Man, at 3, gets the social differences yet, as a second child he is also more possessive of “his” toys. So I have parked that idea for the time being and will do a clear out just before Christmas, when they will be too busy to notice.
After our massive effort came St Nicolas day:
The Littlins woke up, quickly woke me and we came down to check if Santa had been. He had been: Both Littlins got some small toys, besides the sweets and chocolates- Little Miss got some small dolls with little dogs and Little Man a Lego and a Playmobile figurine and a Matchbox. The small toys got taken from their boxes and wrapping, the Lego and Playmobile figurines were put together.
… and I found it fascinating what I observed- Little Miss had to go to school, so she didn’t get much chance to play, but Little Man could not be prised away from his 3 small new toys. The Playmobile figurine was a bit of a pot luck, as it turned out to be a princess. However, he embraced this figure, just the same as he did the Lego soldier and the matchbox. (For once the car wasn’t called Lightning McQueen either!) The whole day, he did not even glimpse at any of his other toys (which could now easily be found in their organised boxes). He came up with different roleplay scenarios for just these three characters, he wanted very little intervention or interaction from me. My Little Man, who often skips from toy to toy, was just really happy to play in his own world of imagination.
It was Little Man’s behavious, which I observed with awe, that made me question whether we are actually doing our children a disservice by getting them so many toys? …and it’s not like mine get toys at any other times than birthdays, Easter, St Nicolas and Christmas, the odd one from guests coming! However, it still adds up!
Do we need to simplify their lives, instead of bombarding their senses?
I have thought about rotating toys. However, I’ve not been able to come up with or come across any sort of systematic way to do this, so the idea has stayed that- an idea.
What do you think? Is less really more? Do you rotate toys? Do you have a system for which toys are out?
Would really welcome views or links to posts with some solutions to toy fatigue.