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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Easy tips on how to limit the number of toys.
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?”
Follow a ” One in – One out” policy
For every toy purchased, one has to move one toy out of the house. DONATE – GIVEAWAY – RECYCLE
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.
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.
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.
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.
Send some to Grandma’s
The kids will be thrilled when they visit their grandma and grandpa and revisit some of their toys there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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