When pregnant, I barely read any books (they freaked me out!), but happily I’ve stumbled upon some parenting books for toddlers that seem to have wise and down-to-earth advice. Simplicity Parenting is one of those books. Here are four enlightening tips about toddlers and toys…

* The number of toys your child has should be dramatically reduced. Dr. Payne encourages parents to put all their kid’s toys–bath toys, blocks, cars, balls, everything–into one big pile. That pile should be halved, and halved again, and maybe even again. Why? “An avalanche of toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of overwhelm,” Dr. Payne writes. (That makes sense, even as an adult, don’t you think? Imagine how much calmer you feel sitting at your desk when it’s clean, versus covered with notes and papers; or how soothing your bedroom feels when everything’s put away.) Parents sometimes fear that their kids will be bored without as many toys, but the outcome is typically the reverse: Kids become more engaged once their toys are reduced. “As you decrease clutter, you increase a child’s attention and capacity for deep play,” writes Dr. Payne. And it can be surprising to realize how many toys you’ve accumulated (especially if you have lots of relatives:)

* Organize the room so your child can only see a few toys at a time. (Keep other toys stored in baskets or bins under the bed or in a closet.) With Toby, I’ve been putting a blanket over his toys, so he can focus on playing with one thing at a time. His room looks simple and inviting with just a few favorite toys. So much calmer than it used to, when it was covered in Legos and books and Elmo paraphernalia!

* Reduce the number of books in the room. Have just a few favorite books accessible at any given time. “Kids need the time to read deeply, and often repeatedly,” says Dr. Payne. Then you can rotate out the books once they’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first batch.

* Keep just one of each type of toy. Toby LOVES cars, and I realized that he has a toy taxi, a school bus, six race cars, two police cars and a digger. But, the book points out, just because one car brings him joy, it doesn’t mean that eleven cars will bring him eleven times the amount of joy. Instead, too many cars might seem overwhelming and devalued. Same with a stuffed animals, balls, etc.. Dr. Payne recommends just keeping the favorite one (or two) of each type of toy. The rest can be stored in a “toy library” in a closet for later, or given away or donated. That makes a lot of sense–I kind of slapped my forehead when I read that–and then put away ten cars:)

Isn’t this great advice? For us, the small changes have made a big impact. Even Alex and I feel calmer at home now:)

Do you ever feel like your kids have too many toys? Remember this crazy photo series? Do you feel like you want to simplify your own life? Do you think this sounds great or too extreme? Any other parenting books you like? I would LOVE to hear recommendations. xoxo

P.S. Speaking of simplifying, check out this Italian daycare!
P.P.S. More Motherhood Monday posts, including kissing and boobs.