Nearly every parent knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by toys. Toys in bedrooms, toys in living rooms, toys in the tub – just too many toys all over the place. John Rosemond promotes an approach to toys called the Toy Library.
In this system, the child “checks out” one toy at a time from the Toy Library. When the child is done, s/he returns it in exchange for a different toy (usually with assistance from a parent, especially for younger kids). (A small assortment of Hot Wheels would count as one toy; a set of blocks would count as one toy.)
I have never followed through with this system because I couldn’t think of a way to make it feasible on a day-in, day-out basis. However, a few days ago I began to use a modified version of the Toy Library.
1. I pared down the toys in 3-year-old Adam’s room to: markers, crayons, & paper; a bin of misc. things such as empty coffee cans and empty boxes; plus 1-2 toys such as a set of Legos and an assortment of Hot Wheels. (I didn’t change anything with regard to the 30 or so books in his room.)
2. All other toys, I stashed away in our basement.
3. Adam is welcome at any time to request a toy from the basement. He needs to trade in one of the toys from his room (Legos, for example) in order to get the new toy. Naturally, this requires him to pick up and put away what he had been playing with. This is where I do a happy dance.
The benefits of this system are many. I think he appreciates his toys more, when they aren’t stuffed into every available space in his room. I should mention that since we have a small house, his bedroom is also where all of his toys are kept, aside from the toys that are stored in the basement. Using this sytem, he is required to keep his room and our main floor quite tidy because there simply aren’t a bazillion-and-one things for him to strew about. Also, I think he plays more creatively when we use this system.
It is a bit more work for me, but I think all in all, it nearly evens out in the end because I don’t have to deal with a bazillion-and-one toys all over the place.