Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sorting Out Parenting Issues

Wow the Responses

Let me give you a bit of background first. Yesterday my mom and I were having a conversation on the phone (which happens usually more than once a day, even if we just saw each other 2 hours previous).  We were talking about how kids don’t seem to appreciate their toys as much as we did when we were children. I am fortunate enough to have a room we keep designated especially just for toys. My kids are currently sharing a room (long story) and therefore the room we were going to designate to my daughter has now turned into the “playroom.” Now this playroom has EVERYTHING and I’m not exaggerating. It’s got a train table, a play kitchen (so yes it even has a kitchen sink), two beds, a doll house with tonnes of accessories, a book shelf, musical instruments, Legos, a matt on the floor with little roadways designed on, a dress-up clothing box, a huge tote for stuffed animals and a shelf that has bins full of other random assorted toys.

Any parent reading this will see the problem here. Too many freaking toys! There is so much going on in there that the kids don’t actually play with anything, they from what I can tell just dump every item on the floor in search of the next. The result is two bored children and one mad and tired mom. Mom is mad not only because the toys are not doing their job by entertaining the kids but also because it literally takes an hour to clean the room and only 20 seconds to destroy it.

So let’s go back to the conversation I was having with my mom. We were talking about how kids just have too much stuff, most of it crappy plastic and they have never known any different. My house looks like Toys R Us has barfed all over it since the day my first born came home.  There's no way a child would have any appreciation when they've never been lacking. Mom finally said something along the lines of “I wonder what would happen if you took all the toys away, every single one for an entire week? Do you think it would force them into appreciating their toys more?” Then we started to think logistically about what that would look like for a full week. How insane would I go by the end of that week? Would the children survive? Would I?
I decided to put this question out to my fellow friends on my Facebook page and see what they thought. Well who knew that it would create such a stir? It seemed everyone had an opinion on the matter, people with several kids, people with no kids, people who have older kids that are no longer in the house, young people, older people, people who have tried similar things and people who think you’re crazy for just suggesting such a “silly idea”. It was really interesting to see how differently people reacted and sometimes really strongly.

Really I don’t think there is one right answer. I mean is there really ever when it comes to parenting? Kids, like all humans, have such different personalities and value systems. The only real way to know would be to test it out and I’m thinking that we wouldn’t survive a day.

Instead I spent my afternoon sorting through ALL the toys and separating them into 4 different piles. Yes, you read that right, 4 piles. And these are not small piles; each pile is enough to fill a large tote. It's amazing how much stuff a 2 and almost 4 year old can accumulate. Now that it's all sorted and labeled in their own Rubbermaid bins I'll be able to rotate all their toys every couple of weeks to keep things seeming new and interesting. I know this concept isn't a new idea to the parenting world but it was the happiest medium I was willing to partake in. I think by downsizing the mass into smaller to handle portions they’ll find more time for each toy and instead and hopefully keep them from becoming crazy obsessed because I'm depriving them of their toys. Plus we can't forget that the real reason why I'm actually motivated to do this, I now won't have to spend countless hours cleaning the playroom anymore.

It;s probably NOT in my best interest to divulge how exactly I sorted these bins.  Let’s just say that my OCD kicked in and the bins are sorted into different themes. I can already see my hubby shaking his head at me like I'm a crazy lady. I can't really deny it either.

I think what I’ve really learned here is no one really knows what the hell we’re doing. Oh I’m sure there are experts that would tell me what I’m doing will be beneficial for their growth and development. Then I’m sure another would be telling me I’m well on my way to signing them up for A&E's Hoarders as I'm teaching them to hold on to their possessions harder so they don't disappear. It’s just bizarre that after how many years humans have been parenting children that no one really knows. If we don’t have a clue on how to raise children properly then what the heck do we have? Well I’m NOT putting this question out to the Facebook world because I’m not sure if I want to know the answer.

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