The Day I Gave Away (Nearly) All My Son’s Toys

Completely fed-up of sounding like my own mother ‘tidy your room!!!’ and having exhausted every incentive, punishment and bribery possible, I decided to give away nearly all my son’s toys.

He is 8 and very few of the toys were expensive, most were pre-loved. We bought good quality toys from thrift stores since he was about 2 years old. We would rotate his toys each year, taking bags full back to thrift stores and letting him pick out some new ones from time to time. Sounds pretty contained but toys breed, you know.

Add in Grandpa’s charming penchant for sending ridiculously generous but huge (and usually age inappropriate) gifts, birthdays, Christmas etc and by Aged 8 – he could open his own toy shop.

The crazy thing was the daily battle to get him to tidy up was a farce because there was just too much stuff. He was overwhelmed. We were burdening him with too much STUFF. And stuff is all it is.

Give kids a wooden spoon and a tub and they have the ability to self-entertain if you can grit your teeth through the initial complaints. The reality is that world has turned digital and an iPad can hold tens of thousands of games. I realised in my frazzled, frustrated state, that I needed to be bold. Good parents are bold parents. they know when something is worth fighting for.

We want our kids to be imaginative, to interact, to create and express who they are. How can they when drowning in a sea of plastic pacifiers?

I calmly sat him down, explained how I had been feeling and how I didn’t want us to fight anymore. I told him we were on the same side. I described how powerful and brilliant his imagination is, and how little he needs in the way of props.

He looked relieved.

We cut a deal. All Lego, craft stuff, some small cars and a selection of favourite books would stay. The rest, all of it, about 95% was going.

He was excited.

It took a few hours but bagging up the plastic jungle was therapy on a whole new scale.

This decision was not only about employing the best ideals of minimalism but about rescuing my son’s childhood from the choke of consumerism.

It was about un-doing and challenging our own laziness as parents.

It was also about making space: in our home, yes, but in our heads too, for conversations about things other than chaff.

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6 responses to “The Day I Gave Away (Nearly) All My Son’s Toys

  1. Brilliant, well done you! I often feel like just getting rid of (almost) every toy in our house (I have boys aged almost 2 and 3.5). I do think they become overwhelmed by it all and that their imaginations are stifled by having too many. Inspiring pics too 🙂

    • Thanks, we’re weeks down the road and no regrets and nothing missed! Tidying up takes minutes and we haven’t had a single row, or even a discussion, about tidying his room. Bliss!

  2. Pingback: Our 7 Secrets to Contented Kids | The Life Change Blog·

  3. We’ve got a storage shed for some of the stuff Mommy and Daddy can’t let go, just yet… (it’s only half full) Perhaps, putting some of their toys (2 boys, 5 and 3) in storage would help me to figure out which ones we can live w/o. Mommy is a pack rat struggling to become a minimalist, while Daddy embraces his pack rat ways. Jr. and BabyJ are pack rats w/ imaginations… Again, this sounds like something I should try. Thanks!

  4. I’ve recently done the same for our two boys. And now everything they do have (which is still a lot) all has a place and my new mission is teaching them to put things back in their proper place before pulling it all out and just throwing it back wherever. Much happier mom 🙂

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