As an educator and a parent, in response to what read on another blog, here are my ideas about what to do to avoid being overrun by your children’s toys.
- Bathrooms need toys. Those of us who are alone with little ones usually leave the door open so we can hear what our little tot is up to. It’s good to have a special toy that will keep their interest rather than a new toilet paper carpet.
- Develop your child’s decision making skill and let them choose in cooperation with you what toys should be donated. Have a donation box easily accessible to your child. If they don’t play with any of the toys in an agreed amount of time (one or two weeks), then donate the toys. Try to take your child with you so he/she has a meaningful experience.
- If you want to keep your living room free of toys, restrict the size so toys can be stored in an ottoman, bench or basket. I made a toy train made out of cardboard boxes linked with cord so at clean up time, my son could put the top on the box and pull the train to his room or the playroom. He’d make stops at certain crossing (the kitchen and the hall to pick up “strays”). Always remember to give a 5 minute and a 2 minute “toot toot” as clean up reminders.
- The first playroom should be your child’s bedroom. If your child is very young, you need toys in every room because you need to be watching him/her. Organization will allow you not to feel like your are living in a toy store. Although you could look at toy stores for organization and stlyling ideas (what goes on shelves – what goes in bins). Any Montessori parent or educatior will tell you it is never too early to label where things go and train your child to put toys back. It’s a matter of “What I learned in Kindergarten” providing the life skills your child will need later on.
- Not everyone has room for a separate playroom, but whether you do or don’t the approach is the same. Younger children do better with bins that are open so they can see what in there. Older children can have containers that are closed. All containers should have labels with a picture of one of the objects pasted to the label. Large glue dots work well and can be removed without damage.
For more ideas and pictures, visit the Doodle Noodle website (doodlenoodlestuff.com), which will be fully operational next week. You can also visit us on Facebook (Doodle Noodle LLC) or tweet me @gaildoodlenoodl