If you're sitting among the post-holiday chaos - piles of gifts to organize, half-unpacked suitcases, boxes of treats sitting on the counter - you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed, like me 🙋
For the small children in our life, even more so.
Young children, especially those under six, thrive on routine and predictability.
The combination of unpredictable schedules and more clutter around the house, can really throw them off.
One easy thing you can do to bring a little more peace to your home is to de-clutter their new toys.
This doesn't have to be a big project.
It simply means putting away some of their new toys so there aren't so many options available right now.
Too many choices can feel overwhelming for young children. By limiting the options, your child can easily choose a toy or activity and begin playing.
In turn, this independence helps children:
fully explore the few toys they have out
follow their interests and learn about themselves
develop their confidence
master movements and skills
learn to manage their playtime independently
If you're new to the idea of toy rotation (putting away toys and materials that your child has lost interest in and bringing out items that your child hasn't used in awhile), click here to read more about it.
To decide which toys to put away now, here's a few criteria to help you decide.
1. Is it developmentally appropriate?
There are many well-meaning family members that buy puzzles or toys well beyond our children's capabilities... simply because they know our children are bright.
But toys that are not developmentally appropriate (too complicated or require more strength or fine motor skills than the child currently has) often result in children getting frustrated and never playing with these items.
You'll likely see your child try to use toys like this and give up quickly.
This is a good sign that you should put these toys away for now. You can bring them back out again in a few weeks or months, depending on the recommended age of the product and how much your child struggled when using it.
2. Is your child interested in it?
If your child hasn't shown interest an in item in the last week, it's a good sign that you can put it away for now.
Sometimes children get presents from people who aren’t familiar with their current interests.
No need to get rid of these items right away. Small children's interests change all the time. You might try putting these toys away now and bringing them out again in a few weeks.
It might also just be there's been too many choices and once they're settled into their playroom and routine again, they will enjoy trying these items.