Controlling the toys and stuff that accumulates in our home is a never ending process. I wish I could say this wasn’t a problem, yet here I am complaining about having too much stuff yet again! Yesterday I was watching the boys play and asked them if they had enough cars. They responded with “yes” and continued to play. I then walked over and was about to blurt out “Do you need the car mat to play with too?” I stopped myself and just watched as they played and played well. All they had were a few cars (more than the number of children playing of course) and blocks. They were building a city and flying cars through the air. The overall atmosphere of this play was calm and imaginative. Simple and slow. I need to be reminded of these words daily.
I was thinking back to my favourite toys as a child, and I remember my dolls. I had three dolls in particular that I loved so very much. I had so many more toys growing up yet I remember those dolls as being such a big part of my life. I remember going outside and building imaginary worlds. Do I remember toys that required batteries or the larger than life toys or the toys based off a TV show? No, not so much.
Recently, I downsized and simplified our overwhelming toy collection. We gathered, sold, and donated the excess. This task feels daunting and something that needs to be done often. There are times when the boys are not happy with the initial decision, but forget very quickly. I had a hard time with this at first and still try to include them in the process when possible, but even if they don’t understand the benefits of simplifying yet, I’m the parent and I want what’s best for them. They want to know I’m the one in control and I want them to know I have in their best interest at heart.
We’ve set a few things in place, so the boys have fewer options on a daily basis. What’s most interesting is it works. Contrary to what the media, friends, family, grandparents, and that little voice inside your head tells you. Less stuff actually makes for more focused play, better play, and more grateful children.