There’s nothing more exciting than watching your children interact and play with one another. It’s the clean up that drives parents mad.
When our kids refused to clean their mess last week, I decided to take control of the madness by removing all the toys from our home.
At first, my husband was against the idea of taking the toys away. With time, he realized it was the best thing for them. BONUS: This post helps with the holiday season to remind our family and friends that these kids don’t need more toys.
My husband didn’t believe taking the toys away was the answer until he saw what it did to the kids.
On the first day, our three-year-old picked up a dinosaur book from our bookshelf and started naming dinosaurs.
Even the dogs wanted to be next to them and didn’t have to kick LEGO pieces out of the way to go in and out of the house to do their business.
During the day, you could see the kids were engaging more as time went on. No one fought over anything. They actually helped each other reach for things like snacks and pieces of paper to draw.
I kept sending my husband photos throughout the day and reminding him of how proud I was of their connection.
What Not Having Toys Meant
Without toys, our kids were pushed to interact with one another, and even with the pups. I found our youngest petting and smiling with our French mastiff. It was a sweet moment for the two since they won’t often get to spend time together.
It also meant the kids wouldn’t have a reason to argue since everyone had the same entertainment — each other. No one argued about not having Buzz Lightyear or that the baby had taken their LEGO creations apart.
I was happy to see that I had less to clean up before bed. Reading books was once again the best way to use our imaginations. Although the kids use their minds throughout the day, it does come in handy to have them picture ideas from stories.
Did I mention we also cut back on TV use?
Not having toys meant they didn’t think about the characters they were playing with. No one wanted to watch “their shows” on Netflix. In fact, they wanted to help me cook and put ingredients away.
Although our kids are very much involved with kitchen duties (they love cooking and helping with the dishes), not having toys made them want to find other ways to play.
They set up our living room table as a kitchen — something they hadn’t done in a long time — and cooked for me. It was sweet and the combinations they made were interesting.
We even took a day from the week to go and play at a nearby playground. The boys enjoyed taking off their shoes and running around for a bit.
When The Toys Came Back
On Friday night, we made a deal with the kids. As long as they cleaned up, they’d be able to play with their LEGO pieces again.
The kids cleaned up that night and we went to sleep excited for the next day.
Creations were everywhere throughout the next morning since our three-year-old wakes up before everyone to play. It was funny because he had mentioned the day before how clean the floor was without the toys all over the place. Oh, the irony!
Lessons From Not Having Toys
The best toy a child can ask for is you, and all of your attention for at least 30 minutes. This is something my husband has always shown me.
No matter how exhausted he is, he makes the time to dedicate all of his attention to the kids (pups included). Honestly, I admire that about him.