Last week I posted on Instagram that I would be writing more on my blog about keeping a minimal home and asked for some topics you guys would be interested in hearing about. One of the biggest questions I've gotten has been, how do we manage our toys and minimal mindset with gifts from family members? This is a great question! We were very honest with our family members from the very beginning that while we feel so lucky our parents want to gift our children often, we just don't see value in our kids having a lot of toys and that it is not necessary to bring them something each time you see them. They love their grandparents so much and just want to spend time with them. We didn't want them to expect a gift each time they saw their grandparents, so kindly, we had this converstaion with our parents. If you are years into parenting and did not have this conversation during the baby years or during your pregnancy, it is not too late! I know it may be uncomfortable to bring up, but I think if you say you would rather your child spend time with them and that you really love toys that are simple and encourage creativity, they'll be on board. Also, talk about how you are going to be donating a lot of the toys your children no longer use and how you are striving to create a more peaceful environment for them. That may spark some great converstaion as well. I do realize some grandparents will ignore your wishes all together and buy what they want anyways (haha.) I'd give those toys a month or two and then donate. Remember, the toys in your house are in YOUR house. If they are things that just don't align with the lifestyle you are trying to achieve, do not feel guilty about donating them. Having children does not mean you need to have crap all over your house, gifted or not.
If you are wondering where to start with well crafted, more thoughtful toys, some brands we really like are Hape, Plan Toys, Land of Nod, IKEA, and Janod. We also love Montessori 'toys' and I get a lot of our materials from Alison's Montessori. Our parents always ask what the kids want for Christmas and birthday's and we usually send them a couple links to these brands.
A few suggested 'gift' idea's for family members for the low key holiday or occasion:
-art supplies (crayons, pencils, clay, a sketch pad, water colors, sidewalk chalk)
-fun flashcards or coloring books
-subscription to a kids magazine
-experiences (a day to the zoo with grandma! or a lunch date!)