How to Avoid Toy Overload | A Teacher’s Secret Unveiled

by Melissa on July 25, 2010

How many times has your kiddo come up to you and said, “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!”?

Did it leave you scratching your head, as you looked around their room, shelves, and your den and noticed all of the toys that you’ve purchased for your sweet pea after they begged and pleaded? Did you wonder how they could possibly say that after all the money you’ve spent?

Judging by your child’s symptoms, Tandem Teaching would diagnose your child with a case of Toy Overload. We’ve all suffered from it. I mean, how many times have you torn your kitchen cabinets apart looking for the right lid for a piece of tupperwear? Or flitted around when you had a big project, not knowing what to focus on first? The same thing happens with kids.

When they have a world of options in front of them, it makes it difficult for them to settle and become immersed in one single activity.

Depending upon how much time you’ve spent in your child’s classroom, or how much you remember of your own, you might know that teachers are constantly rotating their centers and instructional tools to keep their students engaged.

If you want to prevent your child from catching the dreaded disease of Toy  Overload, set a day aside to go through their toys together. And, when you do, here’s two great topics to discuss when you look at each one:

  • Does it have all the parts it needs to be functional? If not, time to chuck it.
  • Does it still hold their interest? If it does, make sure your kid explains why and how they use it. Often when they talk it out they realize that while it used to keep them engaged for hours, they’ve outgrown it. That’s the time to pass it on to a younger cousin, donate it to a thrift shop, or have a yard sale.

Now here are two tricks that I learned from my gram that are really crafty:

  • If your kiddo has something that they rarely use but still  holds their interest, suggest they wrap it and bring them to the nearest children’s hospital, so your child can give it to another child and brighten their day. Use caution with this one- don’t make them part with something they’re not ready to part with. When they are, it’s a huge experience for them to see how much joy they can bring to someone else’s world through their generosity. The payoff is huge!
  • This one is one of gram’s personal fave’s. Being a stay-at-home mom of twelve, she really had to learn how to stretch a dollar. In July or August, she’d slowly slip toys away one by one and hide them in the garage. Then,  when the holidays came, she’d wrap them up, sit back, and watch her kids get excited about something they already got excited about before. Sometimes absence really does make the heart grow fonder!

We’d love to hear about some of your great tips for keeping your kiddo from catching this dreaded disease, or how these suggestions worked for you.

Remember, now is the perfect time to do it, before the hectic school year begins!

Melissa is the founder of Tandem Teaching and teaches in the inner-city. She blogs weekly about tips parents can implement to enhance their connection with their children and ways to bring out their children’s inherent gifts. Contact her for a private consulting session.