Do you hum this little tune to yourself on the daily? I was seriously the girl before kids that said this, and I quote…” My house will not look like a toy factory threw up.”
Oh, young and naïve Kim - you're so silly!
Now l am in the real world as I have 2-year-old twins. There is a slide and a play kitchen in my living room. The real kicker though, it isn’t a bad thing! My kids need to be able to play and have creative outlets - or they will go crazy and then I go crazy which is just no fun for anyone involved.
With that said, there is a happy medium. Even though our living room is their main play area, it is also our main area to chill. And I can’t chill with toys flying at me. In fact, it makes me anxious - imagine that.
So how do you get the best of both worlds?
Less is More
Per Dr. Lockart with A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC, “Due to a child's under-developed frontal lobe which impacts executive functioning (which include organization, planning, decision-making, and self-control), when they are in a space where they are overloaded and over-stimulated with stuff, they cannot function optimally in that space.”
An awesome method to help with this is to rotate toys in and out every few months. It will keep their toy selection minimal and keep excitement in the toys they have, without going and buying more.
The perfect example of this is on Christmas. Do your kids look like deer in headlights with all the stuff they get? The first box they are ecstatic but by the 20th, they are over it.
I personally keep out the toys that they are playing with, and the rest I take to another area to store them.
As you switch in and out, it is also a great time to declutter and pass on the toys they have outgrown or just don’t love.
Give Everything a Home
Kids are creatures of habit, they crave routine. By giving everything a home, they have a routine and can easily identify where everything goes when it is time to put the toys up for the night.
According to Dr. Lockhart, “when things don't have its place and when they have too many things they don't use anyway, then they will have a challenging time maintaining that space in a way that is desirable for parents. They should have things that bring them joy and excitement.”
In addition, give everything a home helps to maintain and sustain being organized.
We have baskets and bins that are labeled by category which makes it super easy to put everything back in its rightful space.
If your kids are too young to read, a fun way to label is by picture.
Your kids will only be this young once. Let the kids enjoy playing without worrying about making a mess.
At times it looks like a bomb went off in my home. I used to freak out and try to clean up behind them as they go, but I was fighting a losing battle.
Instead, I started to have fun with them. Do you remember how fun it was to just be free and doodle?
I joined my kids a few weeks ago and had a blast! My husband had to tell me it was time to clean up!
Once we were finished with that activity it wasn’t me cleaning up after them yelling to come back and help - we made it a family affair.
It became a fun game to clean up and it was easy because everything had a home that was clearly identified. Plus, it is now a routine, so it comes naturally.
The time with my twins is flying by, they are becoming little people before my very eyes. I want them to be able to be creative, have a lot of fun, and just play!
What are your favorite toy storage tips? I’d love to hear them all!