I am currently not the favourite person in our home, as I tackled sorting out the children’s bedrooms. But when you have a little lady that hoards and collects EVERYTHING, a skill that is rapidly rubbing off onto her twin brothers, this is a job that needs doing often. I have been reading a lot lately about how less is more, with reference to children and their access to more possessions, specifically toys. So my clear out took on a whole new vigour. Toys create a lot of work, maintenance (I have shares in Loctite!), and tidying, but I am in no doubt they are thoroughly enjoyed. However, too many overwhelm the child, and they can’t see the wood for the trees, and announce they have nothing to do. Are we as parents more materialistic than the child? Often a secret clear out will lead to the removal of various items that never seem to be missed. Marketing and advertising play on our vulnerable adult minds, from wanting to help them to learn, to not missing out, to helping replace guilty feelings that we have about having to work and be away from them so much these days. Children themselves may say they want something, but this is often transient.
In the face of an 8 year old’s criticism I wasn’t very brave. Things did go, but we still have a long way to go with the notion of less in more (I’m not sure she is entirely on side either). We now have a new rule; one thing in, one thing out. Less toys does promote more creative and imaginative play, and the use of the natural surroundings more too. Too many toys leads to a decreased attention span as there are too many options. Less toys lead to better socialising skills as they are interacting more with each other, and creating more imaginative games between them. Decreasing contact with socially restricting electronic devices helps improve social skills too. They have better success at friendships as they have learnt to interact better through their play games. Children also learn to look after things better as there are fewer of them, plus it is easier for them to do it. It increases participation in activities such as reading and craft.
I am definitely not anti toys, and you will see our floors littered with Lego at the end of the day like most homes, but I can definitely see the value of trying to adopt this less is more policy with our toys, and then throughout our home.