31 Days: Give Them Space to Be Kids

I like to watch HGTV. I especially love the shows where people are renovating their current house and/or looking for a new one. I am fascinated by what people are looking for in a home, maybe even more so because we just went through this process!

As I’ve watched these shows recently, something has bothered me:

Many parents on these shows are complaining about their children’s things being in their living room or kitchen or other main living areas.

Now, The Hubby and I like a very neat and orderly house as much or more than the next family {he has rubbed off on me in this area quite a bit}, but what I’m hearing and seeing in these parents has made me think about our children’s place – and space – in our home.

We cannot expect our children to “live” in one or two rooms of the house. Restricting children and their “stuff” from main living areas does not promote a strong sense of family in any way!

Play rooms are great! Storing toys in the kids’ room is wonderful!

I’m not advocating for children to have toys and books and art supplies strewn about the house, but sharing life involves sharing space. And playing with your children just won’t happen as much if that “play” is limited to a play room only!

Give them permission to play throughout the house! Teach them to put everything back in its place when they are done, but let them build a huge Lego city in the living room every once in a while! Let them color at the dining room table while you clean up the dishes after dinner!

For the record, we definitely do send the boys off to play in their room! Parents and children need some space. And a few rooms should be off-limits to the kids for the most part, such as the master bedroom and bathroom.

But if our kids are ALWAYS being sent to another room to do their thing, I feel like we miss out on the joy of watching them just play and be kids!

Let’s make sure relationship and time with our children is more important than keeping toys out of the living room!


Family Tie #24: What is the “play policy” in your house? Do you restrict play in certain areas of your home just to keep them clean? Make sure your children don’t feel like they can only “be kids” in one part of the house! At least once this week, let them do some fun or unexpected play in a different room of the house than normal!


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  1. Our kids pretty much have free reign to play anywhere in our home but they have limited toys so it’s never overwhelming. They’re 2.5 and 10 months so they just have small toys like blocks, stuffed bears and books and not multi-piece things that they want to set up, like Legos, just yet!

    When the toys do become overwhelming in the living spaces, we’ll just do a quick pick up and put most of them back where they belong. This generally takes less than 5 minutes!

  2. I don’t restrict play during the day…but when my hubby is on his way home we make sure we have everything picked up….he strongly dislikes toys in our living areas and tripping over toys. Then after dinner when it is time to relax the toys tend to come back out…trucks, balls etc and it is playtime with daddy…but only after he has had time to chill a bit after work.

  3. I let the boys play with their toys wherever they want. We try to pick up toys before playing with another one. At the end of the day they pick up their toys and Mommy and day pick up our messes. Its part of our bedtime routine.

  4. we don’t have a playroom, just his nursery. And my son hates to be alone…he always wants to be with me. So regularly toys are scattered throughout the entire house. At one point I even had a basket for every room. But the toys never stayed in the baskets so eventually I was like, Why Bother!?! lol

  5. We have a two story house and the stairs lead to a large open area with the bedrooms off of that. The boys have free reign over that space. They are allowed to bring toys downstairs, but only a few things at a time. Our entryway is the perfect place for Beyblades and bowling, and the coffee table and dining table are perfect for art. About the only thing I do not allow downstairs is Legos. We have too many and they make so big of a mess that they stay in the play area. Although, I do let them bring down a model or two that they built and play with that.

    Basically, if it makes a huge mess, it stays upstairs. And ALL messes get picked up at the end of the day. It’s nice to have a clutter free living area, but what good is a living space if you don’t LIVE in it?

  6. Amen! I hate when people comment about stuff like this! I am all for room boundaries, but I am not going to tell my girls no when they want to put on a dance recital in our bay window in the living room!