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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Anatomy of a Playroom {2}: The Great Toy Debate

First I want to wish you all a Happy {Heart} Day!!
I hope you enjoyed the day with all of your loves big and small!

Next up in my Anatomy of a Playroom Series is...

The Great Toy Debate

So we know what they say about good moms, they have sticky floors and messes.
I do agree to that...substitute life for house, playroom, get my point {smile}.

It's hard to determine when children are ready to start helping
and what the consequences are for not doing so.

Recently, I had witnessed two instances in which people wanted to
not so nicely provide their unsolicited insight on this topic, mom-to-mom.  
Thing is we all have our own tips and tricks and ideas,
but the bigger thing is not to think yours are best.
{and one may want to hold off until they are asked, so what works for you?}
green light to proceed.

Since this is my space I am going to give you some of my thoughts,
but remember they are just my ideas and what has worked in our home.  
I do hope you will find them helpful.  

If you have visited me for awhile you know I DIY most everything,
clean my house myself with my husband's generous help, and
I am passionate about my kids having a childhood.
That being said I am not one to let my boys just run amuck...

You have to....
and remember...

I am so much better at this somedays than others, 
and while I think consistency is key to any success with children,
especially toddlers, sometimes you have to wave the white flag.

When I find myself getting angry, irritated, annoyed at toys, toys, toys and messes,
I have to admit it's usually something else that is bugging me.
I am a type A slowly reforming perfectionist,
but I have relinquished a lot of control over the past few years 
when it comes to my home.

While I am so passionate about children having a designated place 
to call their own to play, our whole home really is open to them.
With 5 boys trying to contain them would be tough.
Yet I am not about to relinquish my home to a complete and utter state of disaster.

What tends to work for me is this...

 : My boys have learned to put away toys since about 18 months of age.
Not every day all the time, I still help A LOT, but every day I give them something to do before they can do something else.  Put your cup in the sink, truck on the shelf, and then you can eat lunch, play with another toy, etc.  They get lots of  "great jobs" and "thank yous" from me.  Now they have started to thank each other for cleaning up toys.  :

: In order to do this though, things need to be organized and easy for them to access and understand. :

:  I clean up the playroom completely two times a day, once during naptime
{which can be the only time I have to myself in a day} and is only about an hour long until I get my oldest from school.  Then once at night, which yes my amazing husband usually does the later while I put our oldest to bed, run errands, answer emails, organize for the next day, blog, etc.  Our floor plan is so open which we love, 
but toys spill into every room, which is ugly sometimes. :

:  Toys need to be organized for play.  
I cannot concentrate with a messy desk or office,
so I can't expect my kids to play if they are tripping over 
everything or missing pieces and parts.  :

:  I edit toys before birthdays and Christmas.  Usually a month
beforehand I start going through everything, donating, selling, etc. 
and clearing out to make space for the new fun stuff soon to take over.  :

:  I do believe kids need to be messy.  With my oldest it was easier to cleanup
as we went but even then we'd be messy.  And then we'd clean up.  It 
is good for them to learn that cycle...that it's ok to get a little crazy,
but it's responsible to care for your things too.  :

:  At the end of the day I try to remember this..I wanted toys in my house and noise.  Sometimes it gets to be overwhelming, but God willing I will be older looking around and wishing for these times.  That really grounds me.  When a day is tough, then sometimes you have to let it go, chose not to battle and move on.  I dig my heels in at times when I should let them knock me down.  I am not one who gives in easily to try again tomorrow but trying while completely frustrated, angry, and upset does not help anyone.  :

I'd like to leave you with this from Ann Voskamp.   Lately, we've been told not to seize the day, to seize the day, not to live in the moment because it will stress you out, but then you have to live in the moment because you'll miss out.  
Now if that isn't confusing I don't know what is.

Here are some wise words to help ground your soul.  
I know I need to anchor mine too often.

 If you missed the first post in this series about Organizing your Playroom by function you can find it here.  It's loaded with great info!

Up next, Practical, Smart Toy Storage!
And then, All About Kids & Art, with a special guest.

Once again thank you for bearing with me as a put together this series.
I am putting more into these posts, and will have a new play oriented post every 3-4 days hopefully. That being said my little guys and their needs will always come first, 
including the tests and sicknesses we are dealing with still.
I am so grateful for your understanding!

Wishing you a day full of love!


  1. I have to tell myself, daily, that I will miss the mess! I already imagine my house with just the two of us. That is all I need to refocus and remember, this is just a phase! I can't imagine a clean, picked up boring is that? :)

  2. I love your playroom it's amazing and great tips. I am also trying to let go a bit and realize it's ok if my house is not perfect as long as my kids are happy


I so appreciate your sweet thoughts and thank you for sharing. I always try to reply whether it be to your email or on one of your blog posts! Wishing you a wonder*filled day! Michelle

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