Help with Bored Kids and Full Toy Rooms
When I was working in both a Waldorf and public classrooms I noticed as the seasons would change so did the toys in the classroom. The teachers never announced the toys were gone because there were always other toys to play with. What I noticed was the children were never bored in the classroom playing.
Now think about your home. Think about all the toys you have out for your children to play with. Are there some they don’t play with as much? Or some, if you had go away for a while, they wouldn’t even bat an eyelash about? We all know the tooth fairy comes at night, right? Well, so can the toy fairy. No, I am not saying tell your kids the toy fairy came and took their toys away. But what you can do is start weeding down how many toys are out in your home at one time. I know space is sometimes a struggle for keeping toys out of sight and mind but just hear me out. We change out the decorations based on seasons in our home and even what the outside of our homes and yards looks like. We feel happy seeing our spaces look a little different. Our homes feel new and fresh ready for the next adventure or season.
Let’s go back to that toy room. How many toys are there? Are there too many toys out? Take a few toys away at a time. Start small and see what happens. The worst thing that could happen is they ask where a toy is. You can say, “I know where it is” and pull it out for them to play with. The best-case scenario is they completely forget about those toys. Why is that the best-case scenario? Because then when you pull those toys back out for them to play with again in a few months down the road it is like getting a new toy all over again.
Think about when you go to a buffet. There are so many options that either you try everything aka your children pulling all the toys out and I mean all the toys. You know what I am talking about. There is no place to even step on the floor because it is filled with toys. Then after a while, you get bored with the food selection at the buffet or they get bored with there toys at home. You hear them start to complain about being bored or they start to cause “trouble” or get into things that they know they shouldn’t.
That or there are so many choices you stick to what you know you like to eat because you can’t make up your mind on what else to try at the restaurant. Meaning your kids just play with one or two items or sets a ton and never really touch the other toys. Yeah, they might play with them but those toys don’t sustain there play for more than 20 minutes.
Now, think about those times where you are tired or need to get work done but the kids are all over you or causing "trouble". The children are tired of the everyday same old same old. You pull out an “old” toy that you had stored away. They are now focused back on playing! They are excited to have their “old” toy or toys back. It feels exciting and comforting to them all at once. That night after they go to sleep pick out some toys that can go to back into the closet. It can be toys they never play with anymore but there is still a chance they will play with again one day or toys that are broken or don't work anymore.
I am telling you, your sanity and your wallet will thank you later. They are not always bugging you for the latest new cool toy because you are bringing out “new” toys for them to play with. Okay, that is not completely true, they still might ask you for new toys but when you say no or maybe for your birthday ect. It might be easier to transition out of that conversation. You might also feel better because there is less clutter and mess you or your kids have to pick up. I know there is so much guilt around not having an organized or tidy home. This can help with ease that tension. Especially around those holidays or birthdays where you know, they are going to receive more toys.
It can also make cleaning up toys with your kids easier. Have you ever watched a child pull out everything in a room and then right before bed the parent requests they pick up their whole mess from the whole day? Yep, been there seen that. It is not pretty. Usually, there are either tears, yelling, and refusal going on from either the parent or child. Having fewer toys out is a lot less overwhelming for you and your child to clean up. This means it is easier for the whole family to handle and there is less stress around picking up toys.
I would also just mention looking at your children and the toys you are still keeping. If your children have grown out of certain toys and you know you are not having any more children...okay even if you are unsure of that, let them go. Go Marie Kando on those toys. I know it is easier to say than do. 1. It takes time and 2. There are all those memories attached to them. But think about those toys needing to be played with. They will make other children happy. You might even make a little money if you decide to sell them. You can even have your children help you say goodbye to them if they are really attached to toys. They can know they are going to be with other boys and girls who need them. If they are not attached to those toys then just let them go without the kids. If you are worried about meltdowns of toys being gone put them away for a few months and then if within that time they don’t ask for them you know you can give them to a new home.
Note: This is where you decided the best way for you and your child to let go of old toys, you know them best. Sometimes we can give toys away without them caring and it is not a big deal. Other times it is a huge deal and you might want to ask them for permission to give their toys away. If they have a hard time letting go of toys you can trying bringing in a story around giving away toys or giving them a choice of which toys to keep and which to let go of. If this is hard for them do just one or two and let them get used to the idea. They can even write a note for the next child about the toy and why it is a good toy. I have many ideas to help with this part of letting go, if it is needed I can talk more in a different post.
We are coming up on starting school and heading into fall. Now, is the perfect time to start looking at the toy box. Try both these ideas out and see what happens. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. You might feel overwhelmed at this but the first step I always do is start to pay closer attention to what they are playing with. Once I have a better understanding I will slowly pull 2-3 toys or 1 large toy like a playset at a time. There is no judgment and there is no timeline just take it at your own pace and the pace of your family. I hope this inspires you to get shifting cause that is all you are doing shifting the toys around!
As Miss Fizzle always says, "Take chances, Make mistakes, and Get messy!
As always feel free to tag me in your adventures. I would love to see how toy shifting is going and the before and after! Tag me on Facebook or Instagram @intuitivedesignsmc