Now that the holidays are over does it look like a toy store exploded inside your house? For most parents the answer to this is YES! The stress and chaos is supposed to end when the holidays do but the truth is it does not. For parents it continues; where to put all the new toys, how to keep things organized and clean, and how to get back into the routine are questions parents have to deal with once the presents are opened. Children usually have a pile of new toys which they want to play with immediately! From one toy to another they go, leaving a trail throughout the house. You pick up one room, go to the next to clean, and by the time you come back to the one you just picked up it is destroyed again. How familiar does this sound? So how can parents prevent “toy overload” for our children and us? A few simple tips can help reduce the stress after the holidays.
• Let the kids take all of their new toys out of the boxes after they are done opening gifts. Sound like more chaos instead of less? You are already cleaning up all of the wrapping paper from opening the gifts so you might as well get rid of the other garbage as the same time. This will reduce garbage traveling through the house, reduce clean up later, and get everything ready to be put away.
• Spend Christmas Day playing if possible. If your family is staying in for the day or even most of the day let the kids have at it. Let them check all their new stuff out. Giving them the chance to play with everything will help reduce fighting when it is time to put it all away and organize things. This will help the kids avoid feeling like everything was put away before they got to play with it and see what it does!
• Replace some old toys with the new ones. After Christmas is a great time to clean out the toys which are not played with much while making room for the new ones. Getting your child involved in this could also be a great life lesson about giving. Have your child pick out a certain number of their old toys (determined by you) to donate to charity. This is a wonderful way to teach them about giving to others even after the holidays and helps you make room for the new toys.
• Reinforce the need to put one toy away before getting out another one. For preschool age children and older this is something which should become routine, they can clearly understand and follow this instruction to help keep things clean and organized.
• Make sure you children know where you expect their new toys belong once they are done playing with them. Have them help you put everything away so they are sure where they need to put them when they are done and it is time to clean up.
These few tips can really help all of us get back into the swing of things after the holidays. Simple things can help the whole family avoid “toy overload” after the presents are opened, reducing stress and clean up time.