I have three young children. My oldest starts kindergarten Monday They are the first kiddos in the family and even though I have repeatedly asked my family to cut back on the amount of stuff that they give to the boys, they just can't seem to stop themselves. While I work on getting my family to switch to gifts that are more in line with my parenting style, I need help figuring out how to clear out my kiddos play spaces so that they have some space to breath and create. It seems mean to just take away their toys. I have tried to phase certain things out but they always notice and want them back. Anyone have an idea how to clear out and refocus that won't leave me with grumpy kids?
Transitioning away from too many toys
I am working on this as of today. I am so tired of all of dd's toys taking over my living room and dining area. I am going to clear things out, I just don't know what to do with the darn toys. I am debating a yardsale but then the kids will see the toys being sold, dd would probably be upset if i sold her toys since she is 2. For now though, I am commiting to clearing out the garage and I am also going to move most her toys down there and set up a play area there. Not sure how it will go, but if I get rid of some of her toys, I may not even need a new place to keep them.
What if you get some storage bins and put a bunch of the toys in there, leaving 1/3 or 1/2 (or whatever makes sense depending on the amount of toys you have) for them to play with? Then when they ask you can tell them that the other toys are in storage or taking a break or whatever and will be back later. Do you think that would go over okay? Then you can sort of swap stuff in, and when you add something "new" that isn't holding their interest then it can be your cue to donate/sell it. Anyway, that's what came to mind as a way to get them used to the idea that there are toys that they can't see/play with right now, but that's not a reason to panic about it.
Also, thanks for the tip to clear stuff out as you go. We also have the only baby in the family and very (sometimes too) generous relatives. With only one kiddo it's not as big of a problem, but now with #2 on the way (and maybe another after that) this is very good advice for me to stay on top of things!
You could also have them help you decide what to clear out. Maybe give them parameters, like choosing 3 or 4 toys to give away to someone who doesn't have any toys? Even pretty little kids understand this idea. That way, they feel some control over the situation, instead of you just getting rid of their toys. Also, if there is anything broken, those things should go immediately, no questions asked. My kids are a little bit older (9 and 7), but we're now in maintenance mode, where we tend to go through toys periodically (especially before birthdays and Christmas) to make room for new toys. I also make sure to request more experiential gifts for them from family--zoo, museum, aquarium memberships, ski passes, etc. This has cut down on the toys coming in in a HUGE way. Good luck!