Is it just me or do kids have way too many toys these days? Our house is over run with toys. I’m constantly stepping on small Lego pieces or little Barbie shoes. There are toys in every room in our house. They are everywhere…on the kitchen counter, the living room, the bathroom, my nightstand. I’m being buried alive in toys! Not only are the toys overflowing our living area, we have boxes of toys put away in both the attic and the basement.
What really upsets me, is that my children do not appreciate the toys they have, they don’t take care of them like they should. How can they when they have so many. There’s Barbies, Strawberry Shortcake, Star wars, Super Hero’s, Mario Brothers, Princesses, Cars, and Squinkies just to name a few. Boy, would I like to have a little chat with the person who created Squinkies! As far as the Princess and the Professor are concerned, it’s just every day life to get 20 new toys on their birthday or 40 new ones at Christmas.
I am to blame for our situation. Somehow, probably from all the commercials out there, I got it in my head that toys = love. The more toys I gave my children, the more I loved them. I wanted them to have everything their friends had. I wanted them to have everything they wanted. I wanted them to wake up Christmas morning and be blown away by all the gifts under the tree! After all, they’re only children for a short time…why shouldn’t they get to enjoy all the wonderful toys in the world.
Gradually with time, as the piles of toys grew so did the feeling inside me that we were somehow missing the mark with our parenting in this area. We were actually doing a disservice to our children by letting the toys get out of control. Not only were we wasting a lot of money on more and more toys, but we had allowed the toys to take over our house, causing tension and disorganization. We were teaching our kids to be materialistic and ungrateful by lavishing them with so many gifts. After a while, it became expected and no longer special. I knew things had to change – of course Daddy already thought we were giving the kids too many toys, he just needed me to come to the same revelation.
Here is the plan we came up with to set us on the right track:
- First of all…we have started telling people to stop buying our children toys. That doesn’t mean they have to forgo gifts altogether, it just means that we ask it not be another commercialized toy. The only exception to that is Lego. Our children love Lego, and it’s one of the few toys that actually teach them skills and let’s them express creativity.
- Instead of toys we encourage art supplies, crafts, board games or learning items – a really good example would be Snap Circuits. It provides hours of fun and it gives hands on teaching of how electricity works.
- Instead of giving an item, we have started giving our children experiences…ie. going to a movie, going on a trip, going to a restaurant etc.
- Instead of buying something, give something hand made. It has more meaning to it because someone has taken the time to create it just for them.