Mama Drama: December Birthday Blues
posted by: Lisa Vratny-Smith
Dear Mama Drama:
My three-year-old daughter has a December birthday and we are inundated with toys and “stuff” from our very generous family. We appreciate their gifts, but are all a bit overwhelmed by the amount of new toys. My daughter tends to leave them strewn about the house bouncing from one activity to the next, then struggles to clean them up usually ending in a meltdown.
We need ideas to help find some balance with it all.
~Appreciative, But Overwhelmed Mama
Dear Appreciative, But Overwhelmed:
December birthdays can be challenging to manage, both in making it special as well as handling the amount of gifts all at one time. You can add some structure to support your daughter in handling her bounty of new toys.
First, work on the clean up process. Begin teaching her, with support and redirection, to put away the item she is playing with before getting out another one. This can be a bit frustrating at first, but with practice (and a lot of reteaching) in the long run will it make clean up at the end of the day a much easier process.
Organizing toys so they are easy to put away is another step that helps with clutter and clean up. Plastic bins with lids are great because they are easy to stack for clean up and easy to store when it isn’t their turn.
Limit the toys that are available for play at any one time. Talk with your daughter about which toys she is most interested in playing with right now. Set a limit of four or five options and then put the rest of the toys away. Depending on her level of interest in them, you can rotate toys in and out weekly or monthly. When you pull out toys she hasn’t seen in awhile, it’s like getting a new present again.
In planning ahead for next year, you may want to suggest gift cards instead of toys from some of your generous family members. That way when spring and summer role around she can choose toys for the new season that she wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Also, ever the literacy advocate, ask for books or bookstore gift cards, too!
How do you other Mamas of December babies handle the holiday and birthday frenzy?
Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to Lisa@milehighmamas.com, and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! Lisa is also available for private consultations. All emails and identifying information will remain confidential. Read more of Lisa’s parenting perspective at her Laughing Yoga Mama blog.