Toy Rotation: The Key to 5 minutes of Alone Time

My soon-to-be two year old is just a bundle of curious energy, which leaves mommy a little haggard and insane sometimes. She gets so bored (or mad) when I leave her alone for five minutes that her toys just end up thrown around and not actually played with. She had a ton of toys out in her room, which made cleaning up a Herculean feat sometimes (because this mama refuses to clean up after a little girl who is perfectly capable of doing it herself).

So recently I tapped into my early childhood education background, and tried a tactic we used when I was working in a daycare: toy rotation.  This involves only allowing your child a small selection of toys and swapping them out every once in a while. This is what my daughter’s toy rack looks like now.

I put all her other toys in bins in her closet, separated into the following categories:

  • pretend play
  • puzzles and games
  • blocks
  • tech toys (VTech or pretty much anything that talks)

She also has a stuffed animal hammock, which we rotate from occasionally.  She knows that if she wants one from the hammock she has to replace it with one that’s in her toy organizer.

This way, once she gets bored of the toys she has out on a regular basis we can switch them out. Sometimes it’s like Christmas came early because she forgot she had whatever I took out! Certain things are like a treat when I take them out, like her instruments or her play food.  It’s a win-win: toddler gets “new” toys to play with, and mommy gets a few minutes of an independently playing child (not to mention cleanup is a hell of a lot easier when it doesn’t look like the toy aisle at WalMart blew up in your kid’s room).

Thanks for reading, friends! If you’ve tried this with your own kids, leave a comment below on how it worked for you. Next up: a quick mommy makeup look to get you out the door looking awesome in 5 minutes! Stay tuned!