Parenting

Does Your Child Have Too Many Toys?

Hello! Daylight Savings Time is here, did you enjoy your extra hour? This change among other things helps signal that the holiday season is once again upon us. Time to start preparing for what has been designated as the gift-giving season. As parents, it's an important time to take a look around and ask yourselves a serious question, "Does your child have too many toys?" I used to do this often when my Lil mama was much younger. I wrote a post about it I think would be fun to revisit today so here it is.

Ever stop and observe your kids at play and notice they only really play with three out of the ten toys you got them over the holidays? Do you wonder if your kids are growing up with a generosity trait and with the gift of giving? This is something that came to me as I read an article that questioned how do you teach a five-year-old to be giving and to share toys?

As parents, we all want to give our children everything and to do for them what perhaps our parents couldn't or wouldn't do for us for whatever reason. I say this from experience because I am one of those parents. The difference in my approach is and was moderation. I saw how those children who had it all treated their belongings and treated people and I didn't want my daughter to be that way.

From early on I implemented the "one in one out" rule. What does that mean?

It means nothing new comes in unless you give away something you already have. We would do this four times a year as the seasons changed. It went for toys and gently used clothing as well. I began doing this routine when my daughter was born. By age four she was right beside me.

I would set up two boxes and have her pick which toys to give away. I taught her that there were other children who had no toys and that she should share so that if possible she could get a new toy. I taught her how to care for her dolls so the hair was nicely kept and all accessories intact.

As the years passed it was something normal for her to have a bag set aside in her room for when the time came to donate. I saw how happy she would be that her bag had toys and clothes that someone else would love just as much as she did. She took pride that her donations were in such good shape to share.

Another tool I used to reduce the abundance was a toy box. One that was just enough space for everyone to be happy. If it didn't fit in the box, it had to go or it wouldn't come in. This saved time, space and money.

I know little girls have kitchen sets and doll houses and boys have cars, trains, and lego sets. My daughter had all the above, but we kept them simple. Everything wasn't out at once and a designated area was set up for those specific toys. She knew she had to clean up after herself (that is another must teach, I am not your maid).

This past weekend we did this same routine, nineteen years later she is still leaving bags on the side for me.

Make giving, sharing and appreciating something normal in your life. Something ingrained in their upbringing so it is practiced daily and never a surprise to do. Make this a gift that keeps on giving. To the parent, our gift is to raise an unselfish child we are proud of and who brings us and others joy. To the child, the gift is they are not the only ones that matter and they are not the only ones that benefit from taking care of something they love. To the world, the gift is kindness, empathy, compassion, and love.

What do you think? In what ways are you teaching and in what ways are your children giving back? Never too early or too late to start.

So that was it, originally written in 2014. I think the points still hold true today. My Lil mama is twenty-two years old now and still follows the in and out rules. Of course, it's no longer toys, but the principal of wants versus needs apply to everything in life from my perspective.

Share your thoughts! Let me know what policies you have in place in your home. What rules do you follow as far as the holidays, especially, are concerned?

Always stress-free, xo

Mari

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Mommywood is a Parenting and LIfestyle blog that encourages Stress free and Mindful living through Empowerment, Motivation and Inspiration.