Holidays are not far and you must be thinking of ways to keep your kids busy, right? If you are again planning to buy toys for your kids, then think again! Don’t your kids have too many toys, already? What parents must know is that excessive toys do not enhance creativity in children. According to child behaviour experts, too many toys distract kids and reduce their focused. Many studies have suggested that playing with too many toys could affect the concentration level of kids and even hamper creativity, life skills, social interactions, imagination, mental health, and team spirit. Now, you must be wondering “should I stop giving my kids toys? If not, how many should I give them?” Read on to know more.
How Many Toys Are “Too Many”?
In today’s times, children do not have one or two toys, they have unlimited toys which is the problem. Parents are also sometimes responsible for this problem of ‘too many’ toys. Giving too many toys to your child does not help him much and makes him demand for more. According to some conservative avenues of thought, kids should not be given any toys at all. This made certain daycare centres around the world implement a ‘no-toys’ policy in the year 1992. As per a study by the researchers at the University of Toledo, Ohio in the US, playing with too many toys curb the creativity of children, whereas playing with fewer toys can help in their overall development.
As a thumb rule, you could get your child a few select toys that will act as an aid to his various developmental needs. They could be toys that encourage reading habits (puzzles), music skills (classroom instruments), pretend-play (like playing house), sharpen their imagination and creativity (art sets), problem-solving skills (scrabble), stimulate physical activities (building blocks), etc.
Why Are Parents Tempted to Buy More Toys for Their Children?
Kids can’t buy toys for themselves. So, obviously, parents are the ones who are encouraging the habit and getting dozens of toys for their kids whenever they demand. There are a few reasons why parents of this age keep buying toys after toys for their kids:
- Some parents feel that their kid would lose out if they don’t buy the latest toys. With the aim of giving the best to their child, they buy every new thing available in the market.
- Some parents are themselves tempted by commercials that show new toys that they want those toys for their kids and think that those toys would make their kids happy.
- Some parents are too busy and use toys to appease the kids and fill in for the time that they cannot give to the child.
- Other parents give in to the demands of kids for more toys. And one of the worst things to do is when parents repeatedly bribe their kids with toys to get something done.
- Others may like the sense of luxury, opulence and status by getting more toys and expensive toys.
Why Shouldn’t Children Be Given Too Many Toys?
As a parent, you must know that too many toys harm a child more than they good. Too many toys can affect the development of a child whereas fewer toys can benefit him. Here are a few reasons why you must not give too many toys to your little kid:
- Toys are like an addiction and can become the root of other addiction when your kid grows up.
- If you give in to your kid’s demand for too many toys, he will take you for granted and keep asking for things.
- If you give in to the demands of your kid and give him toys whenever he asks, he will not value the things he receives. Kids do not value things if they get it whenever they ask.
- If your child has too many toys, there is a chance that he might waste things and not appreciate them.
- If they have too many toys, they will go from one toy to another. This might lessen their attention and concentration. Playing with too many toys can also cause a high level of distraction as a child grows.
- Kids have a better appetite at home with fewer toys. Bribing them with a toy that comes with a burger can only lessen their love for home food.
- Getting too many toys for kids can curb their creativity and imagination skills as they will not experiment with household stuff to create their own playthings.
- Playing with too many toys can also result in frequent boredom in children. Playing with one toy for a long time can irritate a child and he may look for new things to get over the boredom and even any kind of stress. Boredom comes easily because kids know they will get something new when they ask for it. Toys may turn into an addiction to fight boredom and stress. They may grow up and show the same traits.
- Kids with fewer toys have better social capabilities as they grow up because they have more time to converse and communicate with friends and family.
- Kids with fewer toys take care of things better because they have less and so they realise the value of those toys and hence keep them safe.
- Kids with lesser toys have more interest in reading, writing, art and other constructive activities. These activities help them value beautiful things, human emotions, interactions, conversations, sense of bonding and various other beneficial life skills.
- With lesser toys, kids become more resourceful in doing things with whatever is at hand. They learn to do more with less.
- If you thought more toys would keep your kids from fighting, then you are wrong. The more the toys, the more the possessiveness, selfishness, and territorial attitude. This causes more quarrels and inability to share, give and work as a team.
- Kids with fewer toys have neat and clean rooms and keep this habit later in life.
- Kids with fewer toys spend more time outdoors and engage in physical activities that are vital to their healthy mental and physical development.
What Can Parents Do
As wise parents, you can do a few things to resist the temptation of buying toys for your kids and to stop your kids from demanding more and more toys.
1. Space Management
Don’t create a huge toy storage space in your kid’s bedroom. Keep it small so that the toy space looks full and the desire for more is restricted due to lack of space. Teach your kid to give away to less privileged when the storage area overflows with too many toys.
2. Commercial Break
Keep your kid away from advertisements on TV and malls that might encourage him to buy more toys. Television commercials can make your child demand new item every other day, so stop your child from watching too much of television every day and let him play outdoors.
3. Select Wisely
When you are selecting a toy, understand how it can help your child develop. Don’t buy for the sake of buying. Buy toys like puzzles or blocks as these can help in the brain development of your child. So, find out the benefits of the toys and then pick it up for your kiddo.
4. Break the Trend
Sometimes parents buy toys because of pressure. On seeing that other parents are buying expensive toys for their kids, you might be tempted to buy the same for your kid to make him happy, but you must realise that toys won’t make your child happy in the end. Break the trend, don’t follow what other parents are doing. Break the pattern and be a trendsetter in propagating the ‘less is more’ ideology. Make your kid realise the importance of what he has.
5. Reduce, Recycle, Reuse
Give your kid sturdy, long-lasting toys that become unforgettable. For instance, a jigsaw when complete, that looks like your pet dog. Also, teach him to fix and re-use the toys.
6. Family Activities
When your child gets bored playing with one toy, don’t give him another. Try to shift his focus on family activities, sports, picnics, theatre, music, art, and all things that help in his overall development.
7. Create from Scrap
Help your kid create his own play stuff with scrap at home like a costume for a school fest or fancy-dress party, a birthday ‘origami’ gift with a card for a friend, a get-well-soon picture frame for an unwell cousin, etc. This will improve your child’s imagination skills and unleash his creative side.
Try these ways to help in the overall development of your child. Instead of buying new toys for your kid, indulge him in new and creative activities. Allow children to be a part of activities that promote togetherness, family time, social interactions, team spirit, and bonding. These activities will improve the mental health of your child, boost imagination and creativity and build positive life skills in him.
Also Read: Role of Play in Child Development