Busy Mom Solution #3 – The Toys
Adult toys are bad enough, but kids toys, they are crazy!As soon as our little one is born (and sometimes before) they are showered with toys. This can be both a blessing and a curse!
When they are tiny, it’s our job to clean up. As they grow, it’s about teaching them to clean up. Putting a toy away before you get out a new one is the best advice I have ever heard. However, most of the time it doesn’t work. We have to be right there to make sure it gets done. What may be more realistic is that the kids pull everything out and end up with a big mess at the end of the day. I am all about cleaning up before moving onto a new activity, however. So, before we leave to go to the park, all our toys need to be put away.
The question is, do we have a place for everything? Are our expectations a little crazy? Do all the grey Legos really need to be together. Or, can all the Legos live together as one. Do we really need to separate Barbie shoes from Barbie clothes? If you have a child that believes in this theory, then, go ahead, get containers for them to sort to their hearts desire. My experience, however, is that this is an expectation that we have, and it’s not very realistic.
I do believe that all Barbies things should live together as Legos should live together. And this is certainly something we must teach and model to our children. If they see us stuffing things wherever there is an open spot, they are most likely going to do the same.
I suggest containers without lids. Humans, as a race, are pretty lazy. And who has the time to lift a lid and put something away? Chances are if there is a lid involved it’s less likely to be put away. Why not just make it easier on everyone and let go of the lid idea?
I like cubbies but not when they are used with the fabric bins. I much prefer open shelving with open containers that you can see and throw toys into. Yes, I said throw. Isn’t that what kids do? So, a container like this or this placed on a shelf would work well for toys. Be sure and label the bin. If your child is a nonreader, take a picture of what belongs in there and label the container with the photo. If they are readers, a large label on the box lets them know what is expected to land in there.
Will these systems work perfectly? Yes, if followed. However, we get in a hurry, our kids get in a hurry and things don’t necessarily get put where they belong. So, a once weekly or bi-weekly clean up of the toy space is a necessity.
Last but not least, do a 10 or 20 minute tidy at the end of every day. Make sure the “living” spaces are tidied and things are put where they belong. It really reduces the clutter in our homes.