Someone in my Facebook group (keep it simple community) said that she has had people ask if she owned a daycare due to all the toys she has for her 3 kiddos under the age of 5.
Boy do I remember those days!!
I felt it was necessary for my boys to have “choices” and have things visible and accessible so they could self-serve.
My kids weren’t “dumpers” but if they were, I’m sure I would have changed that frame of mind pretty quickly.
As they became older, things gradually began to disappear as they moved on and as I started to realize how absolutely ridiculous I had been in “providing” for them to grow their brains and interests and who knows what.
It wasn’t until a trip to Legoland a couple of years ago that I started to realize that all of that “providing” may have actually been a disservice to my kids.
It was a full day of fun at Legoland that was ending in the gift shop. The BIG one near the entrance with every Lego set you could imagine. The boys (11 and 8 at the time) each had $20 to spend in the store.
The youngest bounced around the store gathering up many of his choices while the oldest sat in a corner flipping through a book.
It seemed like an hour had gone by when we had helped the youngest make his choice, yet the oldest was still sitting in the corner. I asked if he had chosen anything. He told me he couldn’t find anything. I had shown him several things I thought he would be interested in throughout the time spent there and he shrugged at every one of them.
The youngest purchased his set and as we were walking out of the store, the oldest was becoming a bit upset. Sad, really, because he wanted a set but just couldn’t find one he liked.
Hubby suggested they take a peek in the little store next to the cafe before we headed out. The oldest was reluctant since he was convinced he wouldn’t find anything, but agreed to take a look anyway.
Well, after 2 minutes he found something he really liked and purchased it. He was so pleased when he showed me! I was a bit perplexed as I saw that very same set on the shelf next to where he had sat reading his book though he swore it was not available in the BIG store.
This really spoke to me.
It was a major a-ha moment.
Here is my comparison: Imagine you are SO hungry and you go to a restaurant that has an endless selection of very yummy dishes.
How easy is it to choose what to eat?
They all sound good!
Sometimes it is very frustrating because I just need to freakin’ eat, my brain is shutting down and I am unable to make the choice. There is so much to choose from, nothing jumps out at me, and honestly at that point I would rather someone choose for me. I know this has to sound familiar.
Now apply that to a child that is growing and learning how to navigate themselves in this world. They are often tired or hungry or cranky or lonely (HALT) and their little growing brains are just not capable of processing ALL. THE. STUFF.
My oldest, he shut down. The youngest, went the other direction. He went hog wild.
How easy is it for you to focus when you are hungry or tired and you have too many choices on the menu?
- Can you focus?
- Are you distracted?
- Are you going hog wild or shutting down?
Now, look at your kiddo’s STUFF.
Is it the BIG Legoland gift shop or the small one next to the cafe?
If it is the BIG Legoland store, try an experiment:
- First OBSERVE your kiddos.
- What do they tend to play with the most?
- What are the favorites?
- Do they get bored easily?
- Are they distracted?
- Do they bounce from one thing to another?
- Do they put the toys away or avoid it like the plague?
After you observe them:
- Take the things they play with the most and have those readily available.
- Everything else, put them in bins.
You don’t have to get rid of it until you are ready to, but just get them out of sight of the kiddos and then see what happens.
My guess is that you will be amazed and the clean-up will be much easier and less overwhelming for all involved.
This gives you the opportunity to teach them the life skill of cleaning up. It won’t be overwhelming, it will look do-able. Especially if everyone pitches in.
Now, how does this apply to your whole house?
Is it your BIG Legoland store?
Try this little experiment and let me know your findings AND/OR if you want to learn more on how to get your BIG Legoland store to be like the much less overwhelming little Legoland store (let’s chat)