Let me start off with our math lesson. We recently learned to use tally marks to count by 5's, and being that I cancelled afternoon lessons in order to tackle the toy situation, I decided to have Marco practice his tallying. We went around the first floor marking a tally for every piece of toy that was on the floor or not put away (legos counted as 1 toy). Then we sat down on the couch and counted. Our grand total? 42. Yes...42 toys out of place and on the floor; and that was only in the living room, entry way, and school room. I didn't even bother to continue the lesson into the second floor!
So after tallying the toys, I took Marco upstairs and I read him my earlier blog entry about my frustration with toys. It seems that the level of understanding of an almost 6 year old goes further than I thought. His reaction? "Mami, you sound really frustrated. I'll help you take all the toys downstairs. Maybe I can even give some away to some other kids." Wow. Although I know he didn't quite get the whole gist of what I read to him, he understood that I was feeling frustrated. His understanding that basic idea actually helped me to calm down and he was a great help in transporting bins of toys into the playroom.
As it stands, we now have no toys anywhere in our main living areas with the exception of a few baby toys for Christian and some educational toys I use during school. These are all located at the top of our bookcase and aren't accessible to any child. The basement playroom is now full with all the toys and I have tried to organize them to the best of my abilities, but there is still work to be done. The kids never play downstairs without permission, so it is something that I am able to fully control.
The question in my mind is...will this work? Will this help me teach a greater lesson in gratefulness? Will all the values I want to instill in my children become easier with less "stuff" in their lives for them to worry about? Well...we are not throwing their things away, but we are limiting their use. Maybe it's a start. I think the rest of our life lessons will all fall on our parenting and life experience.
The toys? Well, they aren't being missed yet! I'll have to do an update in a week or so to let you know if my kids are going crazy.