Can Too many toys be bad for my child’s development?


Having too many toys can be causing more harm to your child than you can think. Here are 15 reasons why fewer toys can actually benefit your kids. And why you should ask yourself a question whether – your child has too many toys? 



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How to identify that your child has too many toys?

Before we go ahead and talk about the adverse effects of too many toys on kids. Let us first take a quick quiz on whether you have too many toys at your home

Do toys occupy every available space in your home?
Is there a play kitchen, blocks, art paraphernalia, riding toys, piles of puzzles, stacks of games, baskets of small treasures scattered around?
Are the playthings piled against walls, overflowing the shelves and stowed in every available nook and cranny of your home?
Do you hoard stuff from preloved stores, thrift shops, or grab deals because it’s cost-effective at that moment of time?

If you have answered YES to even one of the above, you really need to rethink and do something about your situation.

can too many toys for my child and limit his growth and creativity
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When is too many toys TOO MUCH ?

I am NOT against toys. They are wonderful. “TOO MANY” is a relative term.
And with the options available today, YOU are spoilt for choice for your kids. You as a parent tend to justify each toy as being educational or developmentally essential.

BUT ARE TOYS REALLY DOING THAT? NO. Here are 15 reasons why too many toys can be harmful to your child.

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Why too many toys can be bad for kids (How do toys affect children’s development?)

@ For toddlers and preschoolers, an overload of playthings and toys can be overwhelming and distracting.

@ Having too many toys does not encourage toddler’s to build their attention span. They pick up one toy, drop it, and move on. As a result they can’t focus on using any of their toys to the fullest.

@ Toy overload can lead kids age 6 and older to think that everything is replaceable and nothing is valuable.

@ Kid’s don’t learn to appreciate their possessions or feel a responsibility to care for them.

@ Too many toys cannot hold an attention span of a child long enough to actually learn from them, instead kid’s feel compelled to rummage through and touch everything without ever fully immersing themselves in any one activity.

@ Children who are provided too many toys are quite fidgety and will simply go about touching anything and everything within their grasp just for the heck of it.

@ Tantrums are the devices of young children to show they are overloaded. It’s a child’s undeniable message that they are too stimulated.

@ If every time your baby fusses, you give her a new toy to entertain her, you’ve trained her that the way to happiness is more new toys. And you’ve trained her that your job is to keep her entertained at all times.

@ Feeling surrounded by choices can create an internal pressure to play with everything, and stress over choosing which toy to play with next

@ If your child plays in room where a TV is on, he will spend less time with individual toys and shift attention more quickly from one activity to another.

@ Many toys also have pre-determined characteristics and storylines. This restricts a child’s creativity and imagination. So its always advisable to buy open ended toys.

@ Too many toys takes away the “specialness” of an item and the child is unable to strike a bond. For example, one special stuff toy compared to a bag full.

@ Too many toys causes a sense of entitlement or normalcy. You end up setting a standard and it becomes a norm. Your child gets upset when you buy 3 gifts instead of the usual 5 for a festival.

@ Giving toys all the time will also prevent kids from understanding the concept of “enough.”

@ Too many toys cause sensory overload. Rather than having downtime after a long day, they’re triggered from too many choices.

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So what can you do as a parent?

Always REMEMBER – There does not exist “the one best toy that all kids need” in order to learn and grow. Our kids can, and do, learn from everything in their environment. Everything else is all a marketing gimmick.

Another tip that has worked is – to take out few toys at a time and let your kid play with them and rotate toys every few weeks.

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What do you do when your child has too many toys?

Read on to get some handy tips that you can easily follow and learn how to limit toys for your child?

Too many toys can be bad for your child’s growth, so we can keep a minimalist approach to toys. Most of the time we moms are not sure where to start. So here are some rules for decluttering toys.

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Easy tips on how to limit the number of toys.

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Simple – BUY LESS

Whenever you are tempted to purchase a toy, ask yourself – ” Does my child need it or it’s a want I wish to satisfy?”

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Follow a ” One in – One out” policy

For every toy purchased, one has to move one toy out of the house. DONATE – GIVEAWAY – RECYCLE

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Involve your child in purging toys

Show them the humble and kind side of parting away with toys they have grown out of love. Discuss how it can bring happiness and joy to an under-privileged child.

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Model purging behaviour

Parents are the best role models. If you hoard things yourself, your child will do so too. If you have difficulty letting go, so will your child. Declutter and purge your clothes, kitchen items, cosmetics and involve your child. If you do it, they will be encouraged to do so too.

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Maintain a “Maybe” box

If your child is unsure of letting go of a toy, put it in the “Maybe” box. If it stays there untouched for two weeks, it needs to go out. This will help you and your child decide what toys to keep.

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Start “TOY ROTATION”

Put a certain number of playthings away in a seldom-used closet or the garage. When your kids get bored, bring those toys out and put others away in their place.This approach has the added benefit of giving the toys more meaning.

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Send some to Grandma’s

The kids will be thrilled when they visit their grandma and grandpa and revisit some of their toys there.

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It’s not just the amount of toys, it’s the kind. Ask yourself

“Does this toy invoke the creative facilities?”
“Does my child already have a similar toy serving the same purpose ?”

These questions will help you in deciding what toys to keep and what toys you can give away and thus limit the number of toys.

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Gift one toy at a time

Involve family by addressing your relatives, and say, we are doing things differently. And request that each grandparent, uncle or aunt only buy one gift for the child.

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Look for other alternatives

Instead of toys, you yourself or family members can gift your time or plan excursions with your child. So instead of buying a toy, spend the money on an experience – nature park, aquariums, zoo’s, summer camps, hobby classes etc.

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The last resort – MIDNIGHT HUNT

I call this the “MIDNIGHT HUNT”. If your child is unable to make decisions or is too young, do it for them. When they are not around or sleeping, take the toys you think they won’t miss or have grown out of. This requires a lot of observation on your part. This is in a way cheating but sometimes you need to get your hands dirty.

I’m not anti-toy. I’m just pro-child. So do your child a favour today and limit their number of toys. (Just don’t tell them you got the idea from me.) Research has shown that too many toys also hampers child development.

To summarize, Let’s have a quick look on what we can do to limit the toys.

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Rules for decluttering toys

The simplest thing buy less
Follow the policy of one in and one out
Stretch your arms and help kids who are in need of toys
Be a role model and help needy people
Create a Maybe box
Do toy rotation
Send some toys to grandma’s place
Before buying a toy ask yourself
Gift one toy at a time
Go for other alternatives
Do midnight hunt

Neha is a certified counsellor with a Master’s Degree in Psychotherapy and Counselling, Certification in Jolly Phonics training from Jolly Learning, British Council, Victoria Carlton – ICE (Australia) and CPD college (Ireland). A proficient and certified English TEFL instructor from the London Teacher Training College. She is a certified ABACUS and handwriting improvement instructor as well. She has 10 years of international experience in the field of education. With 4 years of teaching experience at University of Mumbai as an Assistant Professor at an A grade engineering institution. Neha comes from a family of teachers (all her sisters are exceptional teachers in prestigious schools) and her logical choice upon graduation was to take on Teaching. She has taught the College Freshman year in the Engineering program for a couple of years while also working on her Masters in Computer science. She got herself additionally TESOL and ECCE certified. After marriage, her husband and Neha were fortunate to get an opportunity to travel across the globe (Singapore, Malaysia, India and 2 stints in Netherlands.) Since she had to give up her job as a college Professor, she took on a second career by combing the two things that she is most passionate about – TEACHING AND CHILDREN. Neha is now currently living her passion in Netherlands and striving to lay a strong foundation in Language Arts using Jolly Phonics and helping children rediscover the joy in learning. She writes her experiences on her blog https://pearlbuds.wordpress.com/

25 Comments
  1. Hi Neha! This is my first time on your blog and I like what I read. This post is so relevant in todaýs times when we, parents love to buy the best for our children. I loved all the tips and will be coming back for more.Cheers!

    • Thank you so much Tina. I am glad you enjoyed my article. Stay Tuned for more tips related to this topic on how to buy toys and how many toys is too much.

    • Thank you so much Tina . I am so glad that you liked this article from Neha Khanna. Hope these tips will help parents in taming toy overload in this era of marketing.

  2. This is a nice post. You have some raised some very good arguments here with pointers to know when toys are too much.

    • Thank you so much Mansi. I am glad you enjoyed my article on having too many toys. Stay Tuned for more tips related to this topic.

    • Thank you so much Mansi. Yes the main problem we parents face is to answer the question – Do my kids have too many toys. Hope this article from Neha will be useful in answering that as well

  3. This article is quite informative

  4. Love the article. So now I am really confuse . Can you help me neha knowing if Meera has too many toys.

    • Thanks you so much Danisha. Deciding whether my kid has too many toys is the most difficult part. What I do is look at what a toy can be used for and if I have a similar toy that serves the purpose I do not buy it. I will also ask Neha Khanna to help us with more details on this aspect.
      To be on the safer side, I keep toys in a box and take out few at a time. So this toy rotation helps us avoid these downsides of too many toys

  5. Neha! This is such an important topic! Thanks for sharing. I just wrote about something similar, but you included tons of points I wish I had added. Here’s mine for comparison:

    https://reviewbounce.com/how-many-toys-should-a-child-have/

    Thanks again for spreading the word about this important subject!

    Olivia

    • I am glad you enjoyed my article. Stay Tuned for more tips related to this topic on how to buy toys and how many toys is too much.

    • Thanks Olivia for stopping by. I too visited your blog and loved what you have written. Its amazing how different moms have the same concern – Will too many toys spoil a child ?

      Rather than multiple toys of similar kinds, fewer toys that work on different skills can be great for a child development.

      By the way this blog is written by Neha Khanna one of my favorite authors on our site

  6. Very enlightening and helpful! 🙂

  7. Toys are every parents escape. They keep the toddler busy and give the parents a sigh of relief. However, this post by you is certainly an eye opener! Thanks 🙂

    • Thanks a lot Sushmita 🙂 Yes this post from Neha khanna did bring things into perspective. Beacuse in this era of marketing, there are multiple toys and apps being sold with label ‘must have’

  8. Such a sensible article. In our zeal to stimulate our children’s brain we end up over stimulating it. Excess of everything is bad.

  9. Very informative and interesting post. Very well written. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thanks for this post because for long I have tried to convince so many in my family to not bombard my kids with toys as presents. Each and every point that you have mentioned is so true

    • Thank you so much Anupriya, yes its a different concept by Neha and I loved it, I never knew until then that buying too many toys could be bad for kids

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