It’s that time of year when gift giving is in full force! My daughter’s birthday and Christmas fall within one week of each other, so you can imagine for her first birthday and second Christmas, she received so many thoughtful and wonderful gifts - but it was more than her little brain could take in (or remember) and more than I was willing to keep picked up in her playroom!
I took half of the gifts and stored them out of site (in a large plastic bin in the garage), to re-introduce on a rainy or tough day. It has been wonderful. She gets special treats now and then and the rediscovery of a toy provides for a long stretch of entertainment, sometimes enough time to take a shower alone! Post-Holiday is a great time to pack up the older toys to put away (or decide which ones can be donated or given away) and your child will miss them less with the new toys they have just received for the holidays!
You can do this all the time - not just at holidays and birthdays and call it toy rotation. Sort through your child’s toys and store them somewhere you are sure little hands cannot find on their own. Then, when you find your child’s attention to the toys in their playroom is waning (about three months for us) pack up some of the toys that are out and replace them with “new ones”. It is best to do this when your child is napping or out of the house so there are no tears about putting away toys. I also leave out toys that are her favorites or played with on a regular basis.
I also save “busy” toys or something with lots of buttons, noises or images, for long car trips. It is essential for me to have something to pass back as a distraction when the car ride starts to get a little too long. We took a 6 hour road trip recently and I brought two “new” toys to pass back to her as a distraction. This tactic was a lifesaver!
This also works for trips to a restaurant or a doctor’s office where there may be long periods of time of waiting or quiet time. Thrift stores are GREAT for these types of toys. Our local Goodwill often has little activity packs that include crayons, a coloring pad and stickers. These are great for a distraction when patience is fading. You can ask for these activity packs for your child for a holiday or their next birthday and save them up! Here are some Pinterest ideas to create your own busy packs.
Finally, we are also big fans of the library. It feels like you are getting new books (without the price tag!) and can read them daily for two weeks, take them back and get a refresh. My daughter and I spend a significant amount of time reading and new material keeps it more interesting for me (there really is a limit to how many times I can read “Llama Llama Red Pajama”)!
How do you handle holiday gifts for your children? Do you implement any sort of toy rotation in your home? Please comment below!
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