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Minimal Living Fewer Toys Benefits

By Fredrica Syren:

A few weeks ago friend walked through our house and was amazed how little toys we have. Since down sizing and going minimal we for sure have fewer toys than most people but it did not always lived like this. When our daughter was a baby, we did not have many toys for her, and actually always laughed at how she would find anything fun to play with (e.g. straps on her car seat, the vacuum, pots and pans, etc.). As we became a family with three kids, the number of toys grew also. The huge pile of toys everywhere and how people would buy so many toys for our kids all the time drove me crazy. Don’t get me wrong: I truly appreciate that friends and family loved buying things for our kids. But soon I would start threatening them that, if they brought a toy, they would have to take two home with them.IMG_9340

I soon discovered that my kids would play intensely with a new toy for a day but completely ignore it the next. I also saw that, despite the huge pile of toys, they found they needed my help to play. That’s when I decided to limited how many toys and what toys they would have.

Studies have shown that having fewer toys generates more creative play and that too many toys actually may prevent kids from developing their imaginations. When too many toys are present, a child’s attention span is shortened, and they cannot fully appreciate a toy in front of them when there are too many options behind it.

One thing I surely noticed is that when my kids have received numerous toys on a regular basis, they began not to take care of them much; they seemed to think it was ok to break something because they soon would get something new. They also began to expect new toys more often. I see that fewer toys make them appreciate and care for them as “special.” The fact is that kids cannot learn to value anything if there is always a replacement.

Having fewer toys makes kids develop more interest in art, reading, writing and painting. They also become more resourceful. I have seen how my kids absolutely can spend hours reading, dancing and creating things with pillows and blankets now that we don’t have so many toys around. They love painting and doing finger games with yarn. This also means they bond as siblings and as a team to solve problems and play together. There is less bickering over a single toy, and they are always so proud of what they have accomplished.

For us, limiting toys has been successful, and I’m happy with the development. For sure it’s been difficult to get gift giving friends and family to get with the program and accept our policy; they seem to think sometimes we’re denying our kids happiness. I see how this can seem extreme and, of course giving gifts to children is fun and special. I try telling them that, instead of a toy, why not give them gift of time together and do something with the kids, like join in their beautiful imaginary world and enjoy it as much as they do.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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