Being a mommy is not the easiest thing in the world. Suddenly you are a paranoid, guilty and overbearing version of yourself who wants the very best of everything for your child and nothing less. One of the things we buy so abundantly, and a lot of times unnecessarily is Toys. They are like the friendly face that says to you, I will keep your child company while you enjoy a cup of coffee without reheating it 4 times or have a leisurely more-than-2-minute shower, but really ends up hurting your feet because they take up every single empty floor space of your home. Also, toys are one of the means how our babies make sense of the world and does help them developmentally. So we want the best sensory toys, the fanciest oral motor toys, some kick-ass fine motor toys, quality gross motor toys, most colorful dexterity toys, etc. No kidding, this list goes on.
I remember asking my friend who just had her second baby, what the best types of toys are that I can get for my baby to play with during his first month. I still remember her answer vividly because to the bright eyed expectant mother I was then, her answer seemed too simple. She laughed and said “the best toy for your child is You!”. Now the bit more wiser mom in me laughs and thinks Oh yes, as if a newborn child adjusting to life itself needs a lot of “toys”!
Lucky for me I have smart friends, I did not indulge in buying toys despite making endless to-buy lists. Given we had just moved continents and were setting up a new life made us wary of how much we spent as well even if it was for our first precious newborn. Toys seemed to take a backseat when we prioritized. By the time I had gotten around back to my lists of fancy toys to buy, I had great advice on what kind of few toys I should get. The consensus was getting open ended toys such as blocks, boxes, balls, etc that allows for imaginative play. From the perspective of my 1 year old I will also add empty kitchen rolls, small containers, cardboard boxes, pegs, straws or really any household item that he is allowed to touch. They seem to be magical with wondrous powers, definitely spends more time in his hands than the stuff I spent money on. Also true to my friends word, we seem be his best entertainment. There is absolutely nothing like cuddles, endless peek-a-boo’s, talking gibberish or reading one book 100 times.
Every child is different, and the parent is the judge of what is best for their child. What I have seen in mine is that with too many toys out at once he just gets frazzled easily and runs from one to another without really fully immersing himself in any. Apparently research agrees that its the few good ones that really helps a child because too many gets them overwhelmed and distracted. I absolutely love this article, Why Fewer Toys will actually benefit your child, that sums up why I should stick to less toys.
Hence, when the turn came for de-cluttering toys, I had to just spend an afternoon getting it sorted. With the help of articles such as 21 tips on Keeping a Simple Home with Kids I had it totally under control (at least for now).
I got two boxes, one small for all craft work and one big for toys. A toy box rather than open cubbies or shelves, because on days that we don’t feel up to tidying (which is most nights), we can always dump everything in and still maintain a clutter free space. Luckily I have always disliked cheap junky stuff, so I already have quality trump over quantity.
Of course, they grow up and start demanding and complaining and throwing tantrums at the toy shop. When the time comes I hope I can still hold on to my beliefs.