Without a doubt, the number one hindrance to children being organized is that they have too much stuff. 80% of what they have, they never use, and there is never enough room to store all they have. The child of one of my clients had 24 Barbie dolls; another had 10 large tubs of Legos; another had so many scooters and bikes that the car would not fit in the garage. If these children had 2 Barbie dolls, 1 tub of Legos, and 1 bike, they would probably be just as happy and have a lot less to clutter to deal with.
Let me suggest that you introduce your child to the concept of “less is more”. With fewer toys and clothes, the child can more thoroughly enjoy and appreciate each item, and clutter is greatly reduced. Sure, you say, this sounds like a great idea, but how do you actually implement it without starting World War 3? It is a process, and it may take all summer to get your child (and family and friends) on board, but even if there is a small change, it’s worth it. Here’s the plan.
Let’s start with toys. You and your child decide how many toys he can have at any given time, and then both of you evaluate each toy and decide whether it can stay or go. Remember the maximum number of toys, so if your child wants to keep something, he may have to relinquish something else. This process eliminates the huge volume of toys and also teaches your child important decision-making skills.
Take your child with you to donate the discarded toys to less fortunate children. Shelters, daycare centers, and disadvantaged families are great options. Sharing teaches your child to get pleasure from giving and seeing others happy.
If you limit the number of toys the child can have, each toy will have more value to the child. Teach your child to be grateful and satisfied with what he has.
Encourage friends and family to give non-cluttering gifts such as shared experiences or contribute to your child’s savings account rather than purchasing toys. And parents, stop bringing home more toys! More toys does not equal more love. If the child does receive a toy, he must decide if he wants to give something else up to keep the new toy (remember the maximum number of toys!).
Encourage Creative Play
Rather than relying on a toy to entertain the child, encourage the child to get creative with art supplies, building materials, fabric, and dirt. I remember how much fun I had just playing in the dirt!
Encourage Participation in Daily Life
Encourage your child to participate in daily life – cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, and yard work. Surely you can find a way for even the smallest child to participate. Teach your child the pleasure of contributing to the family and learning life skills.
Less is More
The less is more model teaches your child
- That more stuff is not related to more love or more happiness
- The meaning of value and quality
- To acknowledge blessings
- To see the joy in giving and serving others
So have a fabulous summer and enjoy the beauty of “less”.
© Passion for Order 2016