I am the first to admit, I am all for an easy life, especially when it comes to parenting. I am also a marketers dream, for myself yes, but for my children also. If I see something they might like chances are they’ll have it. It might not be until a birthday or Christmas but they will have it. What is more if we only have one of whatever new item is occupying them and they fight over it, which they will, we’ll buy another so they can one each, see.
It’s ridiculous really.
They have too much.
They have more toys than Symths. They have electric cars, Little Tykes cars, scooters, scuttle bugs, bouncy castles, slides, tents and an actual two-story flaming house at the bottom of the garden. They are 2 and 3. Do they really need all this? Really?
As part of the many blogs I read, I enjoy following the adventures of the Topsy Turvey Tribe. They really do have actual adventures but they also share the way they live. How they live off of the land, how they have sold a lot of their ‘things’ because really they don’t NEED them. I read posts like this and I nod along in total agreement. I must seem like the biggest hypocrite, as a quick look at my Instagram feed or even my blog and you will see I like all the things, and I do. Need and necessity do enter my mind though. Often. Despite this, my house is homage to toy shops and cosmetic counters everywhere.
When in Portugal recently the children had very few toys. Ok during the first two weeks in the Martinhal they has a communal trampoline, camper van, water fountains and sand pit, which they loved. Oh quick let’s get a trampoline in the garden…. see there I go again. You know the minute they have it they won’t want it, though. Anyway. Other than these things in the communal ‘hang out’ they had an €8 pram each, a dolly and George Pig (which we brought with us) a few books and some stickers, oh and iPads. Our third week they had even less. The two prams, a bucket each and a shit load of outside space.
They played for hours.
With the help of Nanny Pat they had a make shift house outside, where we put two sun bed loungers. They pretended to go to school, they walked up and down the drive, round the outside of the house ‘doing the shopping’, they played house, cooked dinner, pretended to sleep. They had races. They played with water and buckets for actual hours, finding it hilarious. They had genuine fun, largely outside of the house.
So how much do our children really need?
Since being home they have been reunited with their hoards of plastic crap. The toy kitchen has been a clear favourite. The endless amounts of Peppa Pig parahenalia, puzzles and play dough comes a close second, but as before there are 4 boxes of junk collected over the years that remains untouched and unplayed with.
I have watched them get real enjoyment out of some toys, like said kitchen, they cook me all sorts of inedible meals that I duly pretend to eat and make yummy noises. I am happy for them to have those toys and consider them to be worth every over priced penny I spent on them. I am not suggesting they should have nothing.
I do think I have learnt a real lesson. They really don’t need all the things. It is nice for them and I will always treat them but I will be selective. They won’t have just because. The living room, toys boxes and bedrooms won’t be overrun with useless tat I don’t believe they need or will use again after 5 minutes.
They were perfectly happy, perhaps more so actually, running around the garden, up and down the (gated) driveway, playing with their buckets of water and cheap prams. So no I don’t believe they need oceans of stuff, just a €1.2million villa with extensive grounds that dwarf a 4×4 and come complete with swimming pool.
I’ll get right on that then.