Does your living room (or whatever room you use the most) ever look like a tornado swept through it, leaving a hot mess of every toy your child owns? It’s a daily occurrence, actually, it happens multiple times a day because I like to tidy the toys at every chance I get, only causing the tornado to strike again. My tornado looks cute; those big blue eyes, that soft blonde hair, but he’s just playing you. For my son, the more toys that are out, the less he plays with them. It is as if the game is to make a mess, than he gets bored and starts getting into trouble. He’s always been this way, and so we tend to stagger toys with him. Switching them out every few weeks with ones in the basement. It’s like Christmas all over again for the kid. And we have even been known to not open some new toys that he receives as gifts, so that in a few months he gets brand new ones. But lately, we haven’t been as successful with this. Turns out a 2 year old remembers which toys he opened and wants them all out of their packages right away…and even the switching of toys every few weeks wasn’t working that well either. We needed a new plan, since this kid has tons of toys and didn’t seem to want to play with them anymore.
So I cleaned out our living room.
The toy box went up to his bedroom with all his stuffed animals in it, along with his car mat and a few random cars and trains. He loves playing with these while I am getting ready in the morning, folding laundry, or changing his sisters diaper. Much better than him opening bathroom cupboards and playing in the walk-in closet. I was worried about him not napping or going to bed, knowing he could get up and play with his toys, but so far he’s been great about it. It helps that this kid lives off routine, and playing with toys in his room before sleeping is not a part of that routine.
Most of the other toys ended up in the basement (which is set up as a play area, but we don’t go down there that much). Only a few favourite toys are still in the living room all the time. He plays with these so much more now that they are all he has. And after a little while of playing with them in the morning, we go down to the basement and he gets to pick two other toys to bring upstairs. He takes this very seriously, and can spend 10 minutes deciding which truck, or which bin of small toys should come up with him. Having him pick, and only have a few options in the living room, has kept him happy and out of trouble! He loves that he gets to make the decision, and he is playing with toys he essentially forgot about or ignored.
Now I can relax in a fairly tidy living room!