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5 ways to keep the kids toys from taking over

1. Reduce the clutter


It doesn’t matter how organized you are — a surplus of toys will always ensure your house is a mess waiting to happen. Fortunately, getting kids on board with the idea of ditching their stuff is a lot easier than it sounds.


The trick is to make it an opportunity for them to define themselves and their interests. Encourage kids to make a pile of ”baby toys” to donate, and have them set aside any toys that no longer interest them, such as action figures from a forgotten TV show. Separating these toys will help them appreciate how much they’ve grown and rediscover the toys they love.


2. Choose toys wisely


Since you’ll probably be stuck with them for a while, it pays to be picky when it comes to buying toys. To make toys more meaningful to your child, only buy them for holidays, special occasions and rewards — don’t shy away from asking relatives to do the same.


Avoid toys that are poorly made (cheap), not age-appropriate, unnecessarily large, pointless or anything tied to a movie — unless it’s that one you’ve been playing on repeat every day. The best toys are versatile, encourage creativity and can easily be expanded upon, such as Legos, wooden train tracks and dollhouse sets.


3. Leave some toys out of reach


If you’re constantly finding play dough and puzzle pieces in the sofa cushions, it’s time to put them on the top shelf of the closet. Designating these messy toys as ”family toys” will give you more quality time with your child instead of scrubbing pen marks off the curtains.


Also, try to set aside a tote of toys, games and puzzles for rainy days. This ensures you’ll always have a trick up your sleeve for sick days or when a boring relative visits.


4. Set boundaries


If toys are already sprawled out over every available surface of your house, don’t worry! You can quickly reclaim order in your household by setting a few ground rules, such as ”no toys in the kitchen” or setting limits on the number of toys allowed out overnight.


While that might seem a bit draconian, children are generally happier when they’re given clear expectations and few surprises. That’s why it’s important to follow through and pick up every night, no matter how exhausted you feel at the time.


5. Give kids ownership


Picking up toys doesn’t have to be boring. Babies, toddlers and big kids alike can have fun organizing and picking up, just as long as it’s not a negative experience. This means you should provide enough time for enjoyment without resorting to counting ”1, 2, 3” or shouting empty threats.


A great thing about setting aside extra time for picking up is that you and your child can do fun things like scoop up blocks with a blanket or deliver toys across the house via tricycle. If you make it fun enough, your kid will eventually pick up without even being asked.



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