don't bring a toy . . .

It's Wednesday, let's talk kiddos and toys.  Our kids don't bring toys with them when they leave the house.  We don't bring ipads, itouches, stuffed animals, crayons, stickers, dolls, cars, books, their favorite security stuffed animal or blankets; we don't bring anything.  If we are leaving the house, we are leaving it with our bodies, clothes and diapers . . . no toys and no snacks. Here is why.  When we head out to a restaurant we want to sit with our family and/or friends and enjoy each others company.  We don't want ourselves or our children engrossed in toys and phones while we are paying good money to be out together and enjoying each other.  Yes, there is always the occasional meltdown because one of the kids gets inpatient or is hungry or is having trouble sitting still.  But, how else am I going to teach them restaurant manners if I don't just drag them out their and get started on it.  If I can avoid it I try not to get the crayons and paper always offered.  Three of our kids are capable of having a decent conversation and the fourth one can understand everything so he should be just as happy looking around and listening.

When we head to the park or to watch one of our kids sporting events we don't bring toys.  Yes, if my husband is coming with us there generally is a ball in the mix.  But, other than that no stuffed animals or crayons or snacks travel with us.  We are their to play at the park and/or watch sports.  I just let my kids run free.  Often times other families have toys, coloring books or food they bring along with them and my kids always migrate over there.  That program works great for those families, but I would rather my kids just run free and play.

When we head to a friends house we do not bring our own toys.  I know sometimes it's exciting to show off a new toy or baby, but I want my kids to focus on the excitement of their visit and celebrate their friends toys.  And even if we are heading to someone's house who does not have kids, I still don't bring toys along.  I want our children to find entertainment in life, in people, in new places, in new experiences.  I don't want our kids to be self-centered and focused on their toys especially when we are at someone else's house.  I would never head to a friends house for a visit completely engrossed in a new App on my phone, and I don't allow my kids to do it either.

You may panic over this one, but we don't bring toys on trips.  We don't travel a ton yet, but we get out there from time to time.  With the carseats, the strollers, luggage for six or seven I am NOT adding toys to the mix!  I do let the kids bring their sleeping pals, but the toys stay home.  If we get in a pinch and the kids need a puzzle or a ball or something I just pick up something cheap.  Our kids get pretty creative hanging out with each other, exploring and just running around.  And they best part . . . when they get home it's like Christmas, they are so excited to see all their toys.

I think you get the point.  In short I travel light (except for the number of kids with me), I only bring kids, diapers and my calendar . . . no food or toys.  If I really need that stuff (which I almost rarely do) I can go to a store.  If you have always brought toys along with you when you head out with your children and you would like to put an end to it, start small.  Tell your child no toys and then go out for a quick treat at a coffee shop.  Let your kiddo people watch, chat with you and enjoy your their treat.  It will take training, but you will get there!  Our one year old, almost two year old can sit in a restaurant for about an hour, it didn't happen over night . . . we trained him.

The best part about all this . . . WE NEVER HAVE TO GO BACK ANYWHERE TO FIND A 'LEFT BEHIND' TOY!  :0