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Simply Parenting: Quick Tips on Fewer Toys

Sometimes we, as parents, just overdo it. There are a number of ways we can step off the hamster wheel of accumulation to help our kids. Some of this might take some adjustment time, but gradually, I promise, you'll feel the stress sloughing off your shoulders. Today, we'll look at how fewer toys will benefit your kids


Living simply is the Catholic ideal. The saints, like Francis and Teresa of Calcutta, show us this. More than that, Christ, Himself, encourages us to simplify. But HOW?

One simple way is reduce the number of toys. We, adults, could learn from this, as well -- am I right? But, right now, let's focus on all the toys, toys, TOYS! I'm talking about taking the Amish approach to toys, but the Catholic approach. 

First off, here are some great reasons why fewer toys actually help our kids, in addition to saving money and reducing clutter: (find more at Becoming Minimalist)

(1) Kids learn to be more creative and imaginative.
(2) Kids develop longer attention spans when they're not constantly moving from one toy to the next. 
(3) Kids establish better social and interpersonal skills, arguing less and fighting less over toys, actually talking to each other instead fixating on this or that toy.
(4) Kids take better care of what they have. If a toy breaks, who cares? Little Charlie has a mound of replacement toys. Your kids might even learn how to fix their own toys ... next thing you know, Little Charlie is fixing the washing machine and changing the oil in your car. 
(5) Kids learn to love reading, writing, and art. Watch out, though, our kids all too quickly became smarter than us!
(6) Kids develop mental stamina and perseverance. Kids with too many toys give up too quickly. Mental stamina will be really important come time for the ACT/SAT.
(7) Kids discover all the toys the outdoors can provide, plus a get some much-needed Vitamin D. 

Many of the above are also reasons for children watching less television. Less arguing between siblings about which show to watch, obviously more reading, more just talking, dancing, play-acting, outside play, etc. etc.  

Also, de-cluttering the house of toys can teach your kids the joy of giving. Don't just sneak into your the kids' room in the dark of night and pull a reverse Santa (as I've done). Teach them to give their old, still-playworthy toys to St. Vincent de Paul or another similar charity. If this is too difficult, incentivize it. For example, if they want a new toy, have them pick out two or three other toys that they're willing to give away for the new one. 

Please let me know what you think and what has worked for you! 

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