Tis’ the season for love, kindness, giving, and memories, not stuff! As a mom that gives few toys for Christmas, it can lead me to seem like the Grinch, but I’m trying to keep the meaning of Christmas alive.
Listening to other parents having a per child budget that exceeds over $100 while I am looking for the item that doesn’t cost a lot but provides a lot I feel like I’m in the South Pole not North. I strive as a mom to buy fewer toys, just as reducing screen time and keeping their life simple and meaningful. I try to take an intentional approach in applying less is more, though it can be hard to swim against the current and not jump on Santa’s sleigh of an abundance of toys on a list. I hear often from mothers I wish could give more. The guilt and shame around the materialistic idea of Christmas kills me and it’s a driving force for me to stick with my beliefs and continue to give less but do more. Here’s what and why I use the ten rule as I call it.
The Ten Rule:
Each child will have only ten toys at one time. When our child has mastered or developed past a certain toy, they have the choice to donate it and choose another. Remind yourselves as a parent, play is in the child, not in the toy!
Please don’t go into financial stress trying to buy the newest light up singing toy. Studies have shown toys of this type give an instant dopamine rush that will cause you and the child will feel the excitement. These feelings are short-lived and toys will stop being played with quickly. Studies have also shown that toys like wooden blocks, marbles, chutes, or a slingshot have a greater value in play. They allow a child to use their imagination and not limit or dictate the play of the child. The fewer toys a child has, the more they play.
As a mother, I witness purposeful play, creativity, and their imaginations running wild. I know what you’re thinking, “Only ten toys? That won’t do, my child would get bored.” Well, let me remind you that repetition has meaning like singing the same song or reading a story over and over. Repetition supports concrete learning while it will enhance cognitive development. Choose the toys that will meet your child in their current interest and development, not what’s the newest and marketed toy. Save the money and gain more memories! Allow yourself the time to bake cookies, to not micromanage the gingerbread house, decorating, and remember the greatest gift is the people around the tree not what’s under it.
“Play is the highest form of research.” Albert Einstein