One In, One Out
December 7th, 2012
As parents know, the Season of Giving is often the Season of Getting when you have small children. Kids are fun to buy for and even in families who try to show restraint in their holiday purchases, the total accumulation of “new stuff” during the holidays can be massive.
One way that we try to keep from becoming buried under a mountain of toys is to institute a “one in, one out” policy when it comes to stuffed animals and dolls — all of whom are collectively referred to as “friends” in our house.
When Miss Mouse receives a new “friend” for her birthday or Christmas (or any other occasion), she must select an existing friend to part with. The rule applies to Buggie, too, but at the moment, I’m making his choices for him. When he gets a bit bigger, he’ll be able to have a say.
I confess that I had a hard time letting go and allowing Miss Mouse to make the selection unassisted. I mean, what if she picked my favorite friend?? Then what?
Happily, I read the answer on another blog: your child picks the friend, you pick its destination.
It is your child’s decision which friend to remove from their collection. Whether that toy is then donated, trashed, or tucked away in a keep-sake of memories is up to you. Problem solved.
Miss Mouse received two new friends for her birthday last month and carefully selected two existing friends to part with. There are two friends in the line-up of gifts for Christmas, too, so we’ll be repeating the process. It keeps the toy box within its physical capacity and ensures that her “friends” actually get played with.
I’m also planning to put the same rule in play when it comes to books for the kids this holiday season in an attempt to keep their already-unruly bookshelves from collapsing under the weight of all their books!