Toys are important for many reasons – but they shouldn’t be making your parenting challenges even harder! Having toys take over your space can cause stress and tension, not just for you, but also for your children. Kids thrive when their things are organized and easy to access. Here are some suggestions to make your life a little easier!
1. Be Selective
Making your kids happy is important, but you don’t have to buy every dinosaur or doll they see in every store to have happy kids. Try to purchase toys that are age-appropriate, not excessively large, and not poorly made. Think quality, not quantity! Encourage family to do the same, and that will keep your toy collection full of items that your kids love and will actually play with.
2. Reduce Clutter
No matter how organized you are, too many toys can take over your home. I know it sounds like an impossible feat to get your kids to pick toys they no longer want, but it can be done! Create an opportunity for them to explain why they love each toy, and then encourage them to donate things that are no longer their favorites. Purging toys they no longer use can help them rediscover the toys they love.
3. Establish “Family Toys”
Some toys, like play dough or bubbles, would be great to add to a “family toy” stash that stays in a bin on a top shelf in your home. By separating these toys and storing them up high, you control their usage. This can save you the headache of scrubbing gunk out of your carpet and can make these family toys something the kids will look forward to doing with you.
4. Create Boundaries
Even if you don’t have a playroom, establish a place in the house where play is allowed. Let your kids know that toys can be played with in that room, but not in other places. Setting clear expectations for the kids will allow them to enjoy their play time while maintaining your sanity. When the toys start creeping out of their designated area, it might mean that the play area is too messy to play. This is a great time to stop the play time, clean up some toys, and start over.
5. Make A Place For Every Toy
Forget the giant toy chest! When there is no organization, kids will clear out that bin every time to find the toy they’re looking for and your floor will be covered. Instead, buy a group of matching plastic bins and line them up along the wall where your child can easily put away and retrieve toys on their own. Designate a box for each type of toy and make it a fun goal for your kids to keep them in the right bin. If your little ones aren’t quite reading, you can print out a picture of the type of toy that belongs in each container and tape it on the front of the bin to help them sort their prized possessions!