Monday, January 26, 2009

Where Did All These Toys Come From, and Can I Just Throw Them Away?

Before I had a child, I had definite ideas about how my children would be raised. A few educational toys, lots of books, very little TV, lots of good exercise, good nutrition, etc. We've done pretty well with a few of those ideas - Wendy has lots of books, even though she only ever wants to read her favorite two. Her nutritional status is pretty good, as long as no one expects her to eat the lima beans. Good exercise - she does that all on her own!

The toys. Oh. The toys.

I've stuck to my plans and have spent maybe $150 in toys over Wendy's lifetime, including birthdays & Christmases. Most of these toys are ones that require a lot of imagination, and some are great activity toys (like the Bounce & Spin Zebra I wrote about last week).


Wendy is the first grandchild on James' side of the family. She's the first granddaughter on my side of the family. I'm not going to put all the blame on her grandparents, but at least one set has bought her way too many toys. (Not the set that lives close by.) Wendy also has several aunts & uncles who like to see her face light up when she gets a new toy - especially if it flashes or moves or sings or otherwise requires batteries.

Somehow, between 2 birthdays, 3 Christmases, and many "I just had to get this for her" moments, Wendy has enough toys for a whole day-care center. (I think there may be some toy hanky-panky going on during the night, because some mornings I'd promise there are more toys than there were at bedtime.) Something has got to be done. I don't think it's good for children to be swimming in toys. I know for sure it's not good for my tiny house and my pitiful attempts at organization.

So what should I do?

Do we just get rid of about 85% of her toys?

What about the toys she's outgrown, that we want to save for David?

What should we do to maintain a reasonable amount of toys, when people keep giving us tons of stuff?


Beverly said...

I know how you feel. I had plans for my children also. Now 8 years later with 3 kids that has all changed. Thanks for visiting my blog.

gigere said...

Hee hee! We have all the same aspirations for our baby girl. She is also the first grandchild on my side and the first granddaughter on Daniel's side. We've seen the ridiculous amount of toys that Daniel's nephews get for birthdays and Christmasses. We also feel fairly strongly that giving a kid a ridiculous amount of toys is not a godly way to raise seems so materialistic, which is pretty opposite to what God teaches! Clearly, we can't control what others give her. I know that if I just sit back and let things happen, we will also end up with a ridiculous amount of toys...even if I buy her nothing! One option that Daniel and I have talked about is using this (other people giving many toys) as a teaching moment. Perhaps helping Analise to learn that there are kids who don't have any toys at all and helping her to give some of her nice toys to them so that they can have toys to play with. It could be a really good way to teach servanthood and giving away your possessions so that you aren't holding on to "things" quite so a small child sort of way, of course! :)

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Oh, do I know what you mean! We have the first THREE grandchildren on both sides of the family. Oh. My. Word. the toys.

Our solution has been to give some fairly forceful "guidance" to our relatives as to what sorts of toys we do (and don't!) want in our house. They try to abide by that. :) And then we cycle toys. I have a large rubbermaid tub in the depths of my closet and a lot of toys reside there. Every few months the kids get to choose a few toys to take out, but they also have to choose some toys to put back. And sometimes I just rotate some of them without talking about it if I notice that they aren't playing with something regularly.

It isn't ideal, but it works.