If you've got a kid or two at home, there's a pretty good chance that your living room could pass for a toy store. Seeing the expression of happiness on a child's face when you hand them a new toy can be a bit addictive. On the flip side, however, seeing said toy promptly discarded while your child claims to be bored is a total downer. That's why it might be in both of your interests to downsize a bit. There are lots of hacks to keep your kid from being overwhelmed by toys that can benefit both of you.
According to a study published in 2012, and reported on by TIME, American kids are given as many as 70 toys a year. If that number sounds outrageously high to you, you might want to do a quick tally in your head of all the birthday, holiday, and "just because" presents your kid is getting from you and your co-parent, their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and anyone else who loves to spoil them. Maybe 70 doesn't seem all that outrageous after all? But just like an adult who looks into a packed closet and announces they have "nothing to wear," a child might look into a stuffed toy box and announce they have "nothing to play with."
A few changes to the way you handle your child's toys can change the way they play, as well as the way you feel about your living space. These seven hacks show that sometimes, less is more.
1. Cut Back
The most obvious solution just might be the most effective, according to Very Well Family: start getting rid of some of your child's toys. There's a good chance they won't even notice, and they'll be better able to focus on the stuff they actually like versus the stuff that's just taking up space.
2. Rotate New & Old Toys
If you're not quite ready to put a bunch of toys on the trash heap, Mom.me suggested putting together a rainy day toy stash. Take a few toys out of the rotation for a while, and they'll feel new and exciting when you reintroduce them.
A giant, disorganized pile of toys may make a child lose interest fast. Toymaker Fisher-Price noted that keeping your little one's toys neatly organized can make them seem more fun. I know my daughter is more likely to get wrapped up in playing with her favorite toys when we don't have to dig all over the house to find all the necessary pieces.
4. Stick To Versatile Toys
Flashing lights, plastics, and character-based toys might grab your kid's attention in the toy store, but chances are they won't hold it for long. Stanford University researcher Tom Limbert told Babble that basics, like blocks and paint, are more likely to encourage creative play.
5. Focus On Their Interests
Your child may love to paint or whip up a pretend meal in their play kitchen, but they may not spend much time on either of those activities if there are tons of other toys beckoning. Today's Parent suggested focusing their toy stash on the things they like best and encouraging them to focus on those interests.
6. Keep It Age Appropriate
Kids grow up fast, and that means they outgrow even the most beloved toys. Apartment Therapy recommended regularly taking a toy inventory, and shelving anything that's now too babyish for them or simply no longer holding their interest. You can save them for your next baby, or lend out to parents of younger kids.
7. Send Some Toys To Grandma's House
Grandparents are often the biggest culprits when it comes to spoiling kids with the biggest, loudest, and flashiest toys. Parenting suggested shrinking your toy pile by keeping some at grandma's house. It'll keep your kid focused on the toys at hand, while also reducing the amount of clutter in your home.