More often I’ve seen homes where toys, drawing necessities and DIY supplies have taken over not only the child’s room, but the whole apartment or the house.
First, it makes parents extremely anxious as they can’t even see the floor, so it’s easy to take a fall and sprain an ankle. Second, children have no idea where their toys are, and if they want to colour their favourite colouring book, pencils will be scattered all over the place.
I often tell parents that the solution is very simple, but in most cases the task feels overwhelming. Well, some have an option to ask me for help, to finish the big task that really needs to get done.
Here are couple of points to follow, to avoid that blender-thing happening to your place:
1. Have a designated box for toys – or if you have a shelf, then you can keep things organised with labelled boxes.
2. Have a separate box for toys and DIY assignments. Throw away any broken pencils or papers that can’t be used any longer.
3. Don’t keep broken toys, otherwise soon enough your child’s room will be a graveyard for broken toys.
4. Limit the amount of toys your child has and every few weeks exchange the least played toys with something that has been hidden under the pile.
5. Make sure toys are age-appropriate and put away toys they’ve outgrown. There’s no point giving a year-old a toy car with a remote control, or any kind of moving toys, as these are not age-appropriate – your child won’t know how to fully enjoy playing with these. In worst case they may even get scared.
6. If toys are brought as gifts, then it would be best to have the child play with them one by one over time, and not all at the same time. I greatly respect gift-givers who instead of bringing ‘something’ actually ask what’d be the best, or if perhaps the family would prefer a gift card instead. In the UK more and more people actually gift Amazon gift cards (and then families can buy what they think would be the best).
7. What to do with gifted toys children never play with, or have no interest in? I’d advise to have a designated box for these, as these are good to gift forward. You may think it’s not proper, but throwing these away would only create more rubbish.
8. Don’t keep too many toys at the child’s reach (10-15 toys is enough), as otherwise it’s easier for the space to become messy and no one can finish one game properly.
9. When finishing a game, make it into a habit to place all toys away before starting another one.
10. I have a practice with children, that before lunch all the toys must be collected and placed away, as then it’s good to start a new game after lunch nap. Before dinner we also save some time for gathering toys, so that the space will be clear in the morning. The trick is to implement this as early as possible and start clearing the space with them. You can’t expect them to start putting away toys on their own – be a role model.
11. For the child to play independently, they need to be taught how to do so. So play with them to encourage creativity and imagination.
12. In my opinion, the best toys for every household are: wooden blocks, Lego (size depends on the child’s age), toy animals and small cars.
13. Make a mini-library for the child, which holds age-appropriate books (these should be educational and also interesting for you and for the child). Books can come with a pretty hefty price tag, so instead you could take the child to the library every week or so.
NB! Photo is illustrative and is from the Internet.