They’re coming. The Holidays, your family, gifts, and toys. Lots of Toys. Are you ready?
True, we can’t help you with your family, but we can help you think about toys, and how to prepare for their imminent arrival. In this post, we are going to tackle 3 shifts you can make this season to stop the toy clutter and make the Holidays run a little smoother.
Shift 1. Let's Talk Grandparents
So many of you tell us, “ BUT THE GRANDPARENTS…”
Yes, we hear you! Our kiddos have grandparents too. AND it’s a thing, for sure. Grandparents want to see their grandbabies open a large volume of toys on holidays (and on birthdays, short visits, anytime really).
They love it because, guess what, they don’t have to deal with the repercussions of mass gift-giving! First, let’s acknowledge that they have earned this role, it’s an important one, and it’s amazing. However, we are here to talk about some strategies we use to make the repercussions a little less… painful.
1. Give them a precise toy list.
No, not one scratched on a post-it (as I have done in the past). Not one that is an after thought and includes vague categories like, cars.
Give yourself time. Do some research, and send them a clickable shopping list that takes them to the exact products you want in your playroom for your kids. Be sure to give them several options in different price ranges. We have a post of some of our favorite holiday gift lists here if you need inspiration. But, please, don’t send them the ENTIRE list. Look, Choose, + Link then put it in an email!
2. Ask for consumable items.
On the list, ask for consumable items, toys and materials that run out. Think any art material or bath time dye drops or bath crayons. Grandparents can achieve the volume the crave with art items, and, guess what, having an extra stock of paint will SAVE you on a rainy day when the only color they want to paint with is purple!
3. Ask for an experience.
Is there a children's show in town? A class your kiddos love taking? Do they have a favorite play place or museum?
Ask for an afternoon outing to your kiddo’s favorite place. BUT don’t think of this as time off for you. Offer to be a part of it to help with management and logistics, just in case they need or want the support. Encourage grandparents to wrap something as a part of the experience gift like mittens for a winter trip to the zoo or an apron for a cooking class.
Shift 2. Give Yourself A New Gift Giving Strategy
Give yourself permission to take on new gift giving strategies.
Check your local list-serv for pre-loved toys! High quality open ended toys can be on the pricier side (though they will last you years longer than one and done toys). See what you can find pre-loved!
Only bring in toys that you REALLY want in your home. If you hate plastic... don't buy plastic. If you hate noise... don't buy noise making toys.
Limit the number of toys you give your kiddos. This is an equation many people like. Each kiddo gets: Something to wear, something they need, something they want, and something to read.
This helps limit the number of items entering your home during the holidays.
Shift 3. Embrace Your New mantra. You Are In Control!
Last, but not least, a new mantra.
"I am in control of the toys. I am in control of the toys. I am in control of the toys. "
You are the adult and control what kiddos have access to and when they have access to them.
The holidays are exciting… and overstimulating. After gift opening, young children cannot remember everything they received. Put some items away in a closet or in your toy rotation for another time (or a literal rainy day) when you need some new, novel, fun! If you do this every time new gifts enter the house, it will be an expectation that kiddos may not play with the toys right away, but they will eventually.
You are allowed to put things up so they can focus on only a couple new toys at a time! In fact, it is good for their developing brains, we promise!
You got this! The next step is to prepare your space for any influx of new things. Learn how to prepare your playroom for the Holidays here.