March 29, 2016

Less is More: A Parenting Trick to Encourage Mindful Play.

kate hiscock/ Flickr

Do you ever take a look around your house and feel like you’re going to scream?

There are toys everywhere and the children are not playing with them, but throwing them around while jumping from thing to thing.

Well I’ve found the remedy for it: it’s called T.T.S.O. or “Throw that sh*t out!”

I’m for real.

I am utterly allergic to clutter. It makes my head spin. My husband is always saying, “Get over it, we have kids.” And I have come to terms with a certain amount of chaos—things go undone a little longer than they ever would have before.

But honestly, it wasn’t just the clutter that would make me crazy, it was also the quality of my children’s play, because it too was chaotic, them bouncing from toy to toy, flinging stuff about. You could see they weren’t truly engaged. Clearly, the sheer volume of crap was making their heads spin too.

I used to spend hours coming up with systems to keep the toys in order, giving them a “home” so that clean up could be easier. It didn’t really matter though, because within 15 minutes everything would be a mess again.

One day, being completely sick of hearing my own voice complaining and nagging to pick up toys, I said “F it.” When the children went to bed, I cleared everything out!

I left behind some big wooden toys, a rocking car, our play stand with silks, about five matchbox cars and some books. That was it. When they woke up the next morning, they didn’t say a thing about it. Not, “Where is my so and so?”—nothing.

They tied on the silks like capes and took out the blankets and began taking each other for boat rides. Their play had a theme; it had them talking to each other, taking turns and laughing their heads off. I felt at ease because I wasn’t tripping over stuff and stepping on legos.

Voila, problem solved! The children were now deeply engaged in their play and I was relaxed.

I was so excited about this I started telling everyone about my latest discovery. I was surprised when I learned that not everyone was as gung-ho as I was to chuck their children’s toys. (Although I didn’t really chuck all of them, some of the better quality ones I kept in the garage.)

It may take a certain personality to happily part with things. I happened to learn a long time ago that most of the time, possessions can quickly start to possess you. So, I am quick to throw out or donate things that I feel are weighing me down.

If you are not there yet, but are living the picture I painted above, give it a whirl. It’s a real game changer. Like I said, you don’t have to throw the toys out, but at least remove them from the play area and see what happens. You won’t be sorry.

A few things to keep in mind when buying new toys or thinking about which ones to keep—toys made of natural materials, simplistic in design and constructed of wood and fabrics are a great way to go. Also, consider if the toys are open ended. Do they allow your child to fill in the blanks with their own minds?

To me, nothing is better than watching a child’s imagination at work, and with less clutter and toys that spur their creativity, this is exactly what we’ll see unfold.


Relephant link:

Clear Clutter & Change Your Life.


Author: Korrin Rogers

Apprentice Editor: Taija Jackson; Editor: Nicole Cameron

Photo: kate hiscock/ Flickr




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Korrin Rogers