Can Too Many Toys Cause Problems?

Can Too Many Toys Cause Problems?

Is it possible for a child to have too many toys? Wouldn’t more toys offer more ways for children to have fun and self-entertain?

Why should toys be purged if a child may want to play with them later? Is there a recommended number of toys a child should have?

These questions and more are frequently asked and debated between parents and our thoughts. As a parent or guardians, we will always want what is best for our children.

Why are too many toys bad for kids?

The more toys we provide, as adults, we see this as a way to encourage growth, creativity, and entertainment, and in a way, show how we love and care for each child.

However, the more toys a child has, the opposite is more likely to occur; children will show less focus, be more demanding, become uninterested in social interactions, and show less creativity.

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Limiting the number of toys a child has may sound mean and borderline disciplinary.

Still, studies have proven children with fewer toys are less likely to feel overwhelmed, show appropriate and advanced life skills for their ages, and exhibit healthy imaginations.

Continue reading to uncover the truth behind having too many toys, why parents are tempted to give toys, how many toys are recommended for a child, and effective methods for purging toys without upsetting anyone.

What happens if a child has too many toys?

A domino effect is likely to happen when a child has too many toys to choose from.

At first, it may seem a child is happy and has plenty of options to avoid boredom, express their creativity, and share with friends or siblings, but that will quickly change, and one problem will escalate into another.

  1. Even with enough toys to share, one toy will become the object of argument and conflict.
  2. Sharing toys gets difficult when favorites are established.
  3. Children are easy to become overstimulated with too many options.
  4. Excessive amounts of toys lead to increased boredom due to overstimulation and lack of focus.
  5. Problem-solving skills are lessened since children can move from one toy to the next if they don’t want to find a solution for the situation.
  6. Toys are no longer valued and are not taken care of properly.
  7. Playing becomes messier and less likely to be picked up without the child’s discontent.
  8. Creativity and self-expression are reduced with too many options and being overwhelmed.
  9. Children become more demanding and expect to get what they want since they have so much already.

Why and How are Parents Tempted to Give More Toys?

As children grow and develop their interests, they will start to notice toys in commercials, TV shows, and what their friends are playing with.

It is natural and healthy for a child to learn their likes and dislikes, but this also encourages parents to buy toys their child has shown an interest in so they do not miss out or feel discouraged to ask for things in the future.

The downside of providing everything asked for is that a child’s interest can change just as quickly as the next commercial comes on, and they will lose interest in the toy or toys they were just given.

Another reason parents are tempted to buy more toys is that the parent wants to encourage an interest in a specific toy or brand the parent once played with, such as LEGO or Barbie. Giving in to children’s demands may seem easier than dealing with anger.

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Expensive toys that provide luxury and status make the family feel more accomplished.

Or perhaps the parents are busy with work, school, and regular parenting schedules and use toys to fill the time they cannot spend with their child or children are other self-validated reasons for extra toys around the house.

How many Toys Should a Child Have?

The “20 Toy Rule” has gained popularity over the last few years and has shown to be effective for child development and provides good entertainment.

What is the 20 Toy Rule?

Have your child choose 20 toys to keep in their playroom, toy box, or common playing area. Store the rest of the toys in a container out of sight.

Keeping other toys out of sight emphasizes the available toys, and the child will eventually forget about the other toys.

How do I Purge Toys?

When a new toy is introduced, the child must choose a toy from their 20 to replace it. This keeps the number of toys always at 20.

The boxed-up toys can be donated or gifted to friends and family with young children.

How do you limit toys?

Variations of the “20 Toy Rule” can include rotating or cycling through toys, not limiting certain toys, and displaying unique toys for sentimental reasons.

If you choose to cycle through toys, have your child pick out no more than 40 of their favorites.

Leave 20 toys out for playing, store the other 20, and immediately donate or gift the remaining toys.

Swap toys out from the storage box with those currently in use every few weeks or months, and your child will have “new” toys to play with that they had forgotten about.

Not limiting the number of stuffed animals, building blocks, accessories for dolls, or educational toys ensures options for learning, creating, and playing along with their 20 chosen toys.

Displaying toys for sentimental reasons does not mean saving and playing with them later; it means showing for display purposes and should not count towards the 20.

Survey Results

A parent survey was done in 2021 By Premium Joy that had surprising results showing how many toys most children use.

Only 11% of children played with all 20 toys. Children that played with 15 toys were 10%, and 59% of children only played with 10 of their preferred toys.

Depending on your child, the “20 Toy Rule” can be applied to ten to fifteen toys just as easily as twenty.

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Image Credit: Premium Joy
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