I got rid of my kids toys

I Got Rid of All Their Toys | This is What Happened…

My eight-year-old paced the living room with slouched shoulders and the most pitiful expression he could muster up.  “What’s wrong, honey?” I asked glancing up from my tablet.

He shrugged his shoulders. “I’m just so bored.” He sounded as defeated as he looked.

Frustration rippled through me as I thought about all the wonderful toys he was blessed with. Most of which were gifted to him by adoring grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. Remote control cars, tablets, action figures, and just about every building toy you could imagine. Topped off with his wonderful imagination, I begged the question: How could he ever get bored? 

I wrote a post earlier this year, titled, Ten Ways to Resurrect Old Toys. In this post, I shared some tips on how I managed to trick my kids into falling back in love with their toys. Although these strategies run their course after a while, these tips still work for me. But I realized I’d forgotten one. If I could rewrite that post, I’d add a number elevengo on a toy fast! 

You see, whenever my kids declared their boredom, I’d always threaten to take all of their toys away. Of course, I never meant it. I just wanted to scare them into gratitude. Sounds stupid, right? That’s because it is. But when my son approached me and said he was bored, for what I exaggerate to be the millionth time, I decided this was the moment I’d put my words to action.  

Once my kids fell asleep that night, I collected all of their toys (the few that were in rotation) and put them into the garage with the rest of their toys. The only exceptions were the riding toys and trampoline in the backyard, and the toys we used in our homeschool classroom. I called this method, the Three Day Toy Fast.  This is my account of what happened after I got rid of all my kids’ toys. (Cue the Law & Order theme song.)

1.    They survived. Yes, my boys lived to tell the tale. In fact, they stopped asking me for their toys after day one. The phrase—out of sight, out of mind—rang true in this case. They simply stopped thinking about their toys and found other things to do. They colored more, drew more pictures, played outside longer, made up games, and yes, they watched their favorite cartoons on the days they drove me crazy. They even found things around the house to play with. Stuff like empty boxes, containers, and things they had no business playing with (like the hand soap in the bathroom). Turns out, toys had distracted them from using more of their imagination.  

Kids Playing at the Park

 

2.   They got along better. Of course, sibling rivalry is always going to be a challenge, but my boys did get along better once we removed toys out of the equation. Since they no longer had toys to fight over, they had to work together to stay entertained. Phrases like “That’s mine!” “Gimme that back!” and “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” had greatly reduced.  I was really pleased to see how much better they interacted with one another—so many giggles and inside jokes were exchanged between them. 

Kids Getting Along

 

3.   There was more peace.  Ah yes, that thing called peace. We all have our own definition of it. For me, peace is partly defined as having less clutter in my life. Not seeing toys all over the family room definitely took me to that sweet place. I had less anxiety, was more patient, and more relaxed. I also got to give my vocal cords a rest, as I seldom had to yell the word “share!”

Kids Reading Books

 

4.    They had more gratitude. Whatever random toys my boys could find underneath the couches, beds, or other furniture, was like finding treasure. They sat and played contently with a few pieces of LEGOs, a small action-figure sword, and irrelevant puzzle pieces. They got super creative! Not to mention, they showed major love to all of their art supplies. Suddenly, it occurred to my boys that my husband and I could take away their toys at any moment; that they weren’t entitled to them. As a result, they showed more signs of humility (especially my eldest) and their disposition improved.

Creative Kids

 

5.    I stepped up my game. Chucking most of my kids’ toys sounded like a great idea until I discovered I had to step my game up. That is, I had to help them come up with creative ideas and be more involved during activities. I realized I couldn’t just tell my kids to use their imagination, but I had to show them how fun it could be. Thanks to my own imagination, and Pinterest, finding things for us to do was a cinch.

Mommy and sons


So the question you’re probably wondering is, after having such a wonderful toy-free experience, will you reintroduce your children to their toys? The answer is, yes, I already have. But after a few days of arguing and fighting, I returned the toys to the garage. Now we’re back to more peaceful, although not perfect, days. 

I now see a strategy at work. My boys are starting to notice that if they bicker and fight, mommy will remove the toys that are causing the fuss. This, in turn, will encourage them to learn to get along better. It’s already been working! Even as I write this post, the boys are peacefully working on a craft activity I found on Pinterest. And although they still disagree, I’ve noticed when they are crafting their tone toward one another isn’t as harsh. 

I want to end this post by saying that toys are obviously a wonderful addition to childhood. However, my boys are at the age where they are learning how to peacefully work out their issues with each other. Eliminating toys has helped during this time. So, no, this is not an anti-toy post. But one that I hope encourages parents to try eliminating distractions when their children need to learn valuable life lessons such as gratitude, the power of using their imagination, and the wonderfulness of harmony.

Anything to add? Let us know down below!

Stay tuned for more posts on “The Better Mom Tuesdays” series! Every Tuesday this month I’ll be sharing mom tips! 

Stay at Home Mom

So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

First off, I commend you. Making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy. There are a series of what-ifs coupled with conviction and excitement. I’ve been there.

The moment God placed it on my heart to become a stay-at-home mom wrapped me in a swirl of emotions. I never saw myself as the soccer-mom type, but suddenly there I was, knowing for certain that staying home was the best thing for my family—yet still struggling with doubt that triggered from the what-ifs. What if we can’t afford it? What if my husband loses his job? What if I hate staying home?

Let me tell you. All of these things happened and more! But God’s grace is always sufficient and, with His help, we are fulfilling our call to be the parents He destined us to be. Eight years in, and two kids later, I’ve learned some things I’d like to share with you. So without further ado, here are eight things to consider as you journey into becoming a stay-at-home-mom. 

1.    God is with you. When God told Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land, God’s exact words were “Do not be afraid; Do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Whenever God gives us a task that initially scares us out of our wits, we can rest assured that He is with us. With that said, being a stay-at-home mom is not easy. There’ll be sacrifices, tough moments, and unwarranted opinions that’ll tempt you to give up. Trust that God will never leave you or your family hanging. Yes, it WILL be tough at times, but it is in those moments that we strengthen our character and persevere. 

2.    You should consider the cost. Going from a corporate job to a stay-at-home mom can be quite the adjustment. You may be accustomed to contributing to your household and, perhaps, having that extra income to splurge on the things you desire. Please, place your desires into perspective and consider the cost of being a stay-at-home mom. Your household budget will likely tighten, but it is set in place to help you afford the opportunity to stay at home with your children. Remember, “Don’t begin until you count the cost” (Luke 14:28). For our family, that meant no cable television, one cell phone and car between us, and many other sacrifices, like dropping my husband off at work early in the morning (6am!) so that I could have the car for the day. 

3.    You may hate it at times. Even people who absolutely love their job have off days, maybe even an off week. Please don’t let a bad day or a bad week convince you that you’re not cut out for the job. At the end of the year, you’ll see that those bad days don’t even matter in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, you’ll have more good days than bad. Remember, “do not grow weary in doing what is good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). And what is that harvest? All the good things that result from investing time into your family!

4.    Your husband may lose his job. Yes, this happened to us. I want to stress how important it is to have multiple streams of income. The word of God tells us to “invest in seven ventures, yes in eight; for you do not know what disasters will come upon the land” (Ecclesiastes 11:2).   Therefore, consider investing your money elsewhere, whether in stocks, bonds, a startup company, or other ventures God may have for you. Not only will this grant you peace of mind, but you’ll have a cushion to fall on should your husband lose his primary job. 

5.    You can still work. I know that may sound like a longshot when you’re chasing down your toddler, but consider that there’s a time for everything. Of course, when I was a new mom, my main priority was caring for my babies, especially since I nursed them around the clock. But as my children grew older, more independent, and I started getting enough rest, I seized the opportunity to invest in my own ventures to help add more passive income to our household. Proverbs 31 tells us about the virtuous woman who managed to run her home while contributing to household finances. It can be done!

6.    You may lose yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the needs of your children, husband, and home. But you must take care of yourself, first. This doesn’t just mean physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Feed your mind by continuing to invest in the things that interest you. But, most importantly, feed your spirit. When Martha opened her home to Jesus, she became easily distracted by all the preparations she had to do. But her sister, Mary, ignored the preparations and sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings. What did Jesus tell Martha? “Mary has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:38-42). The lesson? It’s great to serve the ones we love, but never place it before spending time with God. 

7.    The grass will look greener in the corporate office. There will be times when you envy working mothers. Not only do they get regular breaks from their children, but they also get monetary recognition for their work ethic and achievement. Take heart and know that God sees and values all of the work that you do. Remember when David worked as a shepherd boy? It seemed no one noticed when he fought off lions and bears to protect his sheep. But God did! God gave David (who later became king!) an opportunity to shine before men (1 Samuel 16). Remember, what’s done in secret will be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:4).  

8.    This is your calling. Being a stay-at-home mom is not for everyone. It is a calling. Therefore, resist judging mothers who are not called to stay at home with their children. God has a different path for them. It’s easy to believe EVERYONE should be doing what we’re doing when we feel so passionately about something. However, when we don’t consider that every woman has a different walk, we place God inside a box and put ourselves on a pedestal as “the only way to do it.” Even worse? We stifle other women’s passions and pursuits by forcing our own on them. Stay on your own course and fulfill your calling with a joyful heart. “For the gifts and callings of the Lord are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). 


There’s so much more I want to share, but those topics deserve a post of their own! For now, I’ll leave you with the first eight things God placed on my heart to share with you. Whatever path you’re on, remember not to compare your journey to others. Comparison will always be the thief of joy.  

Join me this month for my new series called “The Better Mom” Tuesdays! Every Tuesday of this month I’ll be sharing some nuggets of truth I’ve learned from being a young wife and mother. You don’t want to miss it!