We attempt to keep toys in certain rooms in the house. This definitely helps with keeping the toy messes contained and also helps prevent stepping on random LEGOS in the dining room (“helps” prevent, but when I do find some stray LEGOS then I just toss them into the right mailbox to be put away later.)
We are fortunate to have a family room in our basement which is where we keep the majority of our toys. The other places for toys are the bedrooms. We’ve also found it helpful to keep a few go-to items on the main level.
For instance, our main floor living room is generally a no toy zone (my little tornadoes creatively use Mommy’s favorite blankets to create forts, but I just call that being resourceful.) We do have a reading station in the living room that works great for the kids to cozy up on the couch and read or be read to. I guess you could say that we are a little (ok, really REALLY) intentional with the books that we put out. 🙂
We also keep a basket of little kid friendly LEGOS on the porch for little ones to play with while Mommy is cooking. This comes in super handy! It also works great for entertaining our youngest when he finishes eating before everyone (after his hands have been rinsed :-D).
When our three oldest joined the family and brought along all of their fabulous toys with them our youngest daughter thought that she had won the lottery! 🙂 We quickly realized that the “That’s MINE!” syndrome had gained exponential strength by the multiplication of toys and people! Talk about having to come up with a solution QUICK!
We set a simple rule into place and I would literally say that it has saved our sanity when it comes to this topic! Basically, toys are either a “Sharing Toy” or a “Personal Toy”. What determines which one they are isn’t based on who originally owned the toy (ya know like, “Hey, that’s my doll that I got for MY birthday!) instead it is determined by WHERE the toy is.
Our Family Room = All Toys Are Sharing Toys (Update: Click here to see our new toy storage bins.)
We recognize the need for kids to feel as though they have their own personal space and that they need designated spots for things that they don’t want their other siblings messing with. If the kids are protective of a certain toy then they are allowed to keep it in their rooms and others aren’t suppose to grab it…no matter how badly they want to play with their sibling’s Leapster!
If a child decides to bring that same Leapster downstairs to play with it, that is perfectly fine. But if they finish playing and leave it down there then it is fair game for one of the other kids to play it.
This has really helped the kids with a few key things…
- They are learning what it means to be responsible for their things and where they keep them.
- They get to practice sharing with each other (most of the time they don’t want to take the toy all the way back upstairs and the family room is a sharing room so they freely share it with the next child.)
- They get to practice sharing with others (when friends come over our kids know that anything in the family room is ok for others to play with.)
In two weeks, I’ll take this one step further. All of our kids share a room with at least one other sibling so creating spaces inside of their own rooms for personal stuff has really helped with this as well.
Are you dealing with the whole “that’s mine!” syndrome? How have you been able to deal with it?