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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Downsizing the Toy Population

Ever feel guilty about doing something good? I have known that my two children have enough toys for six children, especially due to our circumstances where Camille gets gifts from my dh and I, her dad, and three sets of grandparents. Danny being the younger, get doted on by dh's parents the most.

So every birthday, child's holiday that may involve gifts and when we visit our extended families, there are gifts. Then of course DH and I want to be able to get the kids a little something special from time to time. It adds up to WAY too MUCH. Both of the kids have 200% more toys than I had growing up.

I raided my children's bedrooms yesterday and we're giving Goodwill 75% of their toys. I'm not even going to have a yard sale, and I don't want to even THINK about the money that was spent on some of these items. I guess that's where the guilt is coming from, the money that was spent. I'm the one that gets asked, "What do the kids want for _______ (input any holiday)." And guess what, none of the grandparents want to hear, "oh, we'd like to have books". They want to buy the FUN stuff and have the children adore them for getting them the "good stuff."

Danny's 3rd birthday is next week. He is getting a John Deere Power Wheels Gator from dh's parents and my parent's are getting him a scooter. Dh and I are taking the kids to a fun park, you know miniature golf/bumper boats place and that will be it.

The only toys he has now is her matchbox sized car collection (he has over 200 of them), wooden blocks and lego-type block, a dinosaur play set and pretend clothes (fireman, police man, construction worker, doctor), his train/car table, a basketball hoop thingy and a few straggling other items.

Camille has downsized her 22 Barbie collection down to 4, all the Polly Pocket items, My Family Barbie dollhouse and items, baby dolls, stuff animals have been graciously donated. She has dress up clothes, Zoob building set, GeoTrax train set, roller skates and other types of outdoor play items, a few stuffed animals (eliminated 15 of them!) and a few other items.

Writing this out it still seems as if they have a lot but their rooms are neater and picking up at the end of the day is a little easier. We're (dh and I) are also implementing a "if you want new, you have to give up old" rule. Even with gifts they receive they have to decide what to give up if they wish to keep the new toy. This of course is a private thing and Camille have talked about how it might hurt someone's feelings to hear that they don't wish to keep the new toy in exchange for giving up something old. The grandparents especially.

I want my children to appreciate what they have. I also want my children to be bored. If they aren't bored, when will they use their imagination? When will they pick up a book to visit a new place? Or want to play the many board games we have?

My children don't quite understand that there are others in this world that have ONE toy to play with for years, nevermind just for the day. I know this is move in the right direction, now I just have to monitor myself when the grandparents ask, "What does Camille/Danny want for __________." I want to give them guidance but make sure the suggestions are something worth them buying because if I don't offer suggestions they will go out and buy something I definitely would NOT want my children having such as a Bratz doll or other type toy. What a major balancing act. My parents didn't have this problem, their parents weren't able to spoil the grandkids. Our extended family may be supportive of our homeschooling but it's not to the degree that they're willing to invest in it - they still think the kids will go to school at some point. Who knows, they might but until then I'll just redirect them to microscopes, activity kits and craft like items.



Barb said...

We started a "no gift" policy a long time ago with our children. Grandparents now take the kids out individually once a year for a "special day". They can do whatever they want like a movie, skating, lunch, train ride, whatever they agree with their grandparents. It has become a tradition that they look forward to.

We decided as a family that experiences are better than gifts and we would rather save up for a trip than to spend money on junk. It has greatly enriched our lives together.

It's easier to not get a toy than to find a home for it after you buy it. I like to think of it as recycling before the fact. :)

(I have to admit that we just moved my elderly aunt out of her home and we brought home a truckload of stuff that is sitting in my garage. I hope to be able to pass a lot along to those that need it.)

Harmony Art Mom

Anonymous said...

It will take more effort on your part but, here is my suggestion: Donating the toys (possibly w/ dc) to a women's shelter or children's hospital.

They would be able to "see" who will be caring for their "old" toys and also be able to minister to others their age.

Just a thought...sounds good to say the least:O)

Deshia said...

We've recently done the same thing and it has made all of our lives so much happier (and easier). Not only do I not have to worry about getting the boys to pick up all the little pieces to their various toys (which ends my aggravation) but also they have much neater rooms and I think they feel better about being organized (that part took a little longer! :>) I remind them their grandaddy only had a stick to play with in the dirt. So why does he seem to think my children need every toy in Toys 'R Us?! I really like the suggestion of Barb about getting the grandparents to take the kids out instead! I'll have to use that one next time since it always makes the kids feel special to have one-on-one time.

Thanks for sharing. By the way, have you decided yet what you are using for teaching manners?


Trivium Academy said...

The grandparents live too far away to have special days with on their birthdays. I did like the idea of giving the toys away to someone we know that needs it.

Thanks for the input!