“Less is more” is an aphorism most have heard but few heed when our kids are involved. The impulse to buy, spoil and see them smile from that new ball or Lego set can be hard to resist. After all, isn’t life too short to be saying “no” to our kids all the time? 

How do we raise our children to be happy, healthy and well-adjusted adults? How can we get them to stop trying to stick Lego in their nose and will they ever learn to pick up their toys after playing with them? Balancing these concerns (and many others) can be tough. But many parents are turning to minimalism for help.

Minimalism is a lifestyle that emphasizes living with less. It involves decluttering your life and space. Minimalism is about finding freedom from stress, worry and the high consumption mousetrap we live in. People report that living minimally can reduce stress, increase focus, and improve mental clarity. It encourages mindful consumption and can lead to financial savings and a more organized home environment. 

Applying minimalism to children’s toys means being intentional about the toys you give to your child. The key is focusing on the quality of the play that can be had with each toy over the quantity of items to keep them “entertained”. Steer children towards toys that offer multiple uses (like a ball), engaging the child in creative and imaginative play (like Lego for example) and not overstimulating (like iPads or robotic toys).

Quantity matters too, a study from 2017 showed that the average child in the developed world owns hundreds of toys but only plays with a handful regularly the rest just contribute to harmful toy clutter. 

Toy clutter can be distracting and overstimulating for kids, hindering their ability to focus and engage deeply in play. 

For this reason, reducing toy clutter is the first step most parents go through to implement a minimalist approach to toys. Sorting through toys and donating or discarding those that are broken, outgrown, or rarely used is the first step followed by organising, storing and rotating toys. 

When choosing what to keep its best to choose durable, open-ended toys that can be used in multiple ways. This is important because at any given time you want to keep only a small selection of toys accessible and store the rest.

It can be helpful to involve your children in the process, teaching them the value of sharing by donating unused toys and introducing them to minimalism slowly by gradually reducing the number of toys rather than making abrupt changes. 

Renting toys can also help reduce waste and transition children from one toy to another. Toy swap and rental companies that can help you introduce new toys for a limited period.

Taking the minimalist approach to toys with your kids can lead to them developing more creativity and more focused deep play for them and reduced stress and clutter for you both. Embrace the challenge and witness the positive impact on your child’s development and your family’s overall well-being.