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BellaOnline's Living Simply Editor

Simplify Your Parenting

I didnít have mounds of toys growing up. I had a few dolls, a crib to put them in and a bike for playing outdoors. I donít remember that I had so many toys I had to climb over them just to get into bed, or my mom for ever telling me to clear them up and put them away.

Many children today have too many toys to such an extent that they cause problems between parent and child. Maybe it is because the price of toys has come down, or the excessive marketing of toys to children on the Internet or TV.

When we were first parents we thought giving toys to our children was fun, and so did all the relatives. We videotaped the event as the children had lots of fun opening presents. But after a few years and a few more children, the toys began to take over.

When more stuff comes into our homes each birthday and Christmas, we start buying containers to put the stuff. Then the containers get bigger and get full, and then you still have too much stuff to fit into them.

Then suddenly you realize that you are not in control of your stuff, your stuff is in control of you.

When there are too many toys and too many clothes to keep it under control, then thereís just too much stuff and action needs to be taken in the direction of sorting and donating. Other children are pleased to have some of your childrenís donated stuff, as are thrift stores and people shopping at your garage sale. For a random box of stuff you donít want to sort before donating, you can donate ďas isĒ to your local freecycle group.

I like donating stuff. My house is less cluttered, someone else gets what I donít want, and if I donate it to a thrift store, then they benefit too.

The real key, however, is to buy less in the first place, and to convince relatives to buy less toys for your children too. Helping children manage their toys will assist them for managing their own homes when they are adults. After all, we are training them for life. Thatís what parenting is all about.

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