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We moved to Canada in 2011 with two very small kids. We arrived with suitcases and each other. No extended family and no friends. Our belongings didn’t come until a few months later. In that space of time I didn’t miss a lot of the “stuff” we had accumulated over the years.
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you don’t have it you learn to make do with what you have. Three years later I live in a house with a
lot of toys and I am making changes. I
want my kid’s lives to be about more than the latest craze, I want them to have
bucket loads of experiences. I want
their minds full of wonderful memories of happy times.
As a mother of
three young kids, I often find myself overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” we
have accumulated. Obviously birthdays
and Christmas are the major culprits of “stuff” providers. We also often reward our kids with “stuff”
for good behaviour. They go to their
friend’s birthday parties and come back laden with loot bags. You bring them for a happy meal and leave
with another plastic “toy”. Kinder eggs
have a little chocolate and a big plastic shell with yet another “toy” for our
already overwhelmed kids and ……. Parents.
How much is enough?
This Christmas Laura-Leigh
(5) has informed me that she would like a yoyo from the man in red. Jamie (3) is thinking with his tummy and
would like chocolate, a lollipop and an ice-pop. Ryan (approaching 2) wants nothing but the
hockey stick and puck he already proudly possesses.
I think the key
is to identify your child’s obvious drivers and fuel that.
I have a house
full of toys when in actual fact all I need are:
pile of paper and markers for Laura-Leigh.
All this girl wants to do is draw.
pile of puzzles and stickers for Jamie.
He is obsessed with both.
already mentioned a hockey stick & puck for Ryan.
What changes can we make to reduce the
sensory overload both ourselves and our kids experience on a daily basis?
your space effectively
Our main floor
is now toy free. Yippee, an adult
space. Each of my children has toys in
their bedrooms. The rest of their toys
are in the basement. Their only
belongings on the main floor are craft related as I have nearly killed myself
on numerous occasions falling over toys or stepping on them…..ouch.
I am admittedly
a neat freak. With three kids it is hard
to feed this obsession. Moving the mess
down to the basement has helped me.
should be responsible for their space
I went down to
play with the kids the other day and I was horrified by the mess, toys were
strewn everywhere, dress-up clothes lay unworn on the floor, piles of paper
spilled from the easel. Kids can create
this mess in under 3 minutes. It is
Time for new
rules and so I got the kids to help tidy first which is key. I explained the new rules, when THEY are
finished with something, THEY put it back where it belongs. They are young and I know these rules will
need enforcing. That is MY job.
from the above point the next job was that I put a vast majority of their “toys”
away in a closet I have down in the basement.
I plan to introduce themed play.
The reason is that they will learn to play (which I think kids struggle
with) and utilize all of their toys to this end. It will I hope also bring back a sprinkle of
One day we will
go to the “supermarket” and the cart and plastic food and cash register can
come out to aid play.
On another day,
we can go to a “restaurant” and use our tea set and they can dress up as either
customers or servers. The plastic food
can be used again and more importantly they will be playing and again using
Lots of ideas
can be used for the many toys our kids have accumulated such as train tables,
work stations and doll’s houses. Bring
back play in all its glory.
We all know
about the cardboard box but it is 100% true.
I painted a box with the kids and we turned it into a ship. We popped it on a rug which turned into the
ocean and off we sailed in search of an adventure or two.
holders and Christmas wrap holders are great aids to imaginative play. So simple but so effective.
them with memories through new experiences
This is the
most important point. Our kids are blank
canvases, let’s fill their fertile minds with beautiful childhood
memories. Leave your house with all its
things and go for a simple walk.
weather is good we walk from our house through a park to our local
playground. Very ordinary so far but
then we transform into different characters and our surroundings become new and
exciting. On our way through the
enchanted forest which is filled with fairies we open magic doors and step into
another realm. We pick up what are
sticks to the naked eye but are magic wands in the new world. We cast spells and run and jump over puddles
which have crocodiles in them through the enchanted forest. Walk through a wooded area and make it
magical. Let them use their beautiful
Go on a nature
walk and get back to basics, remember, it’s all fresh and new to them. Look at things from your kids
perspectives. Let them pick up things
and ask questions and fuel their imaginations.
Answer the curiosity which is bursting from them with simple questions.
a new Hobby
I have always
loved to skate. Recently I brought my
daughter skating for her first time and she was amazing. She blew me away. She was wobbly at the start (expected) but
within a few minutes she was ditching her aide (unexpected). My husband brought our three year old on
their boy date and again he proved a natural.
We bought the helmets and one of the sets of skates second hand (my
friend kindly gave me the other set) so we didn’t break the bank and the kids
LOVE it. My point try something new.
weather picks up, camp. We love it. We leave the bricks and mortar for our
plastic cabin in the summer. The kids
are at their happiest and they don’t need much “things”. I find when we are away all my kids really
want are playgrounds. There are some
fantastic campgrounds in Alberta.
important one nowadays. Firstly put the phone
away and interact with your kids. We don’t
get this time back. Every child wants
their mother/father to be involved in what they are doing, to watch them and to
praise them. Go on, play basketball,
jump on a hopscotch mat or trampoline and let your hair down. You will feel all the better for it. Pure natural happiness. This will mean more than a toy box filled to
I want doesn’t
mean I get! My sister in law uses this
expression and I borrowed it from her.
When my kids ask for things which they do not need, this is what I tell
them and guess what, the asking stops.
On opening a
present, kids are already focused on the next.
The one in their hands already forgotten. The wrapping paper is flung and bodies dart
under the tree in search of more.
I want to raise
kids whom are grateful for what they have.
I want them to have enough but not too much. My kids are only young but I often talk to
them about the fact that there are plenty of kids whom don’t have much toys,
some don’t have any. My daughter is a
great thinker and a generous soul, after having one of these conversations, I
found her throwing her toys over our neighbour’s fence. I asked her what she was doing and she said
she was giving her toys to the “poor babies”.
responsible for the fact that our kids have too much? Hands up, you know we are. Who can change this troubling trend? Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s in our hands.
a dull moment in this house, and;
I love this post, it point out simple thing that could make our family organised yet still fun, I think it is very important to let your kids be creative and invent things in their own little world, we should also bear in mind that kids love to see parents getting involve in their creation and play, family play time does wonder! than letting them play on their gadgets all day
Posted by Sithembile D on Jan 11 '15, 12:54 a.m. |
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