Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Helping Kids Simplify...

It seems during the school year we rev up with accumulating things. School papers, toys from Christmas, birthdays, fast food, and way too many clothes. It is hard to avoid so much stuff with four kids and a busy family.  

School's out, and we all need a break. For once, I did not over plan the summer with an over abundance of camps and activities. We have just been together, swimming, eating, playing, and being.

I recently read a post from My Cup 2 Yours about simplifying:

"Simplifying. It’s good for the schedule. It’s good for the house. It’s good for the soul. I love it when things are simple and organized. Like when that “catch-all drawer” in the kitchen is clean, with the paperclips in the paperclip box, the pens in the pen container, and the sunglasses, plastic robot, and Barbie crown where they’re supposed to be and NOT in the drawer. It makes finding things easier. Simpler."

We have a couple of projects going on- replacing carpet, changing the play room into a guest room, and moving the playroom toys into the children's bedrooms. I decided to involve my children in the process.

I had heard a tip from another friend. Anytime, she needs to reduce the toy load she lets her children help decide which toys to give away. She talks to them about how blessed they are to have so many nice toys, and how many children are less fortunate. She gives the control over to them, and then they are less likely to have trouble parting with the older toys.

This morning I tried it. I gave each of the older boys a medium size box. We talked about other boys and girls in the World needing toys, and I told them to fill the boxes with whatever toys they wanted to give away. 

They were so enthusiastic about the task. They worked together and spent about two hours going through toys and filling up their boxes. I heard them in the playroom saying, "I don't need this anymore" or "I don't play with this."  In the past, when I talked about selling toys at garage sales, or taking toys to the goodwill they would get so upset. 

Lil' Expert, my seven year old said, "Mom, I put one of my neopets in the box." These are his most favorite stuffed animals.

We have a local church that takes clothes, toys, and food monthly to the children that live in the dumps near the Nogales/Mexican border. I showed the boys some photos on the internet of some other children of the dump  from Puerto Vallarto. We decided to donate our things to our local church for the upcoming trip.  

Lil' Expert after looking at the pictures said, "They'll have fun with our toys at the dump. Mom, do you think we should send them a penny or two in the box, or at least a dollar." 

Storytellin' Boy went and got his piggy bank. He asked me to open it. He wanted to give "seven dollars to the children living at the dump." 

Today, I have been reminded of the giving nature (with a little prompting, of course) of my children!!! 

"Teaching children to count is not as important as teaching them what counts"
-Arlene Greco, Christian author

Today is Works for me Wednesday over at Rocks in my Dryer. Check out other WFMW tips! 



Kerri said...

That is very sweet. I was just talking to another mom today about this very subject...well, that we needed to declutter pretty often on the kids' toys. But I like your idea better, and it educates them more than just going in yourself and clearing out.

Genny said...

Great post! Great ideas! And thanks so much for the link to my blog. Have a great day.

Elle said...

wow - I love it
great post
Isn't fun to involve the kids in the project and get their buy in!
way to go

The Wine Commonsewer said...

Too Much Stuff!

I hear that, it is my daily mantra.

Anonymous said...

Please correct me if I am wrong, but the "children in the dump" photo link are pictures from Puerto Vallarta NOT Nogales .... maybe you should make sure your church is sending the generous donations to the right place?
Otherwise, your sentiments are good

Laura@Storytellin' Mama said...

Yes, your right those children are in Puerto Vallarta. It was an example to show my children. The donations we are making will go to Nogales because that is the local area near us where children live in substandard conditions!! My friend goes regularly with her two boys!