We all want to give the world to our children. We want them to be engaged and content, and we love the joy of giving them a new toy. But how many toys are too many toys?
Today’s culture of more, more, more could be negatively affecting your child more than you realize. According to renowned family consultant Kim John Payne and author of Simplicity Parenting – with too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time, children can become anxious, have trouble with friends and school, or even be diagnosed with behavioral problems.
So how do we simplify our lives and bring a calm atmosphere into our home that children will flourish in? Dr. Payne has several suggestions including establishing routines, not over-scheduling, limiting screen time, and filtering out the adult world. But one of the most important tips is to cut down on clutter in the home, specifically toys.
According to Dr. Payne, “An avalanche of toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of overwhelm.” We need to dramatically reduce the number of toys in our room to help our kids reclaim a more balanced, playful, and slower pace of childhood. “As you decrease clutter, you increase a child’s attention and capacity for deep play,” writes Dr. Payne.
So, it makes sense doesn’t it? Ready to clean out the toy room? Here are the kinds of toys you may want to consider donating or storing:
- developmentally inappropriate
- fixed (doesn’t evoke the child’s imagination)
- too complicated, breaks easily, batteries involved, plastic
- high stimulus
- annoying or offensive
- pressured to buy, commercial (Webkinz, Silly Bands, Zhu Zhu Pets)
- corrosive play (guns, swords, evil characters, war paraphernalia)
- environmentally unhealthy/toxic
What do you want to keep?
- beloved toys (teddy bear, special “lovey”)
- healthy for humans and the planet
- can be put away in 5 minutes
Once you’ve cleaned out your toy supply, organize the toys in a way that creates a clean and calm environment for play. Put away most toys in baskets and bins to reduce visual clutter. This allows your kids to focus on the toys they are currently using, allowing for deeper play. And don’t be afraid if at first you’re met with protests of, “I’m bored!” Boredom facilitates creativity and resourcefulness. Watch as that boredom turns into creative play right before your eyes. Less is more!