Fewer Toys Makes Better Kids (and Adults) Trust Me

by Bill on January 10, 2014

Happy kids all have toys they love and tend to use a lot. Is there ever too many toys? When is the amount of toys taking away from other areas of life? Do these problems follow the children into adulthood?

My answer to all three questions is a resounding yes. I am not against having toys; not by a long shot. I do seriously think there can be an excessive number of toys in a child’s life; and I’ve got proof. My example family I mention now and then.

Fewer Toys Equals Better Minds

One thing that I’ve noticed with the neighbor kids is their lack of true imagination. They don’t know how to create games or make up stories. And when they do try they’re discouraged because they are making too much noise. So more toys are heaped upon them to keep them quiet and controlled.

Another issue with both kids is their lack of attention. There is no appreciation for anything because all they need do is walk away from whatever toy gets boring and go find another; there’s no cleaning up, there’s no sense that there are limited options in life at times. And this goes beyond the toys; food became an issue when they started thinking they could do the same thing with food that happens with toys. Now she makes different meals for the kids; and I’ve seen more than once how the one boy honestly throws out half his plate because he doesn’t want ‘that’ food at the moment, but will want something else five minutes later.

There is also a major issue with the “I can’t” syndrome there too. When a toy is too hard to figure out, the child gives up and moves to another one. Or the boys get upset and simply smash the toy apart thinking they will just get something else that’s easier instead. There’s no patience; there’s no perseverance or ingenuity to figure things out. And the “I can’t” most often means “I don’t want to”.

This brings me to another issue with kids that have too many toys. They don’t learn value and how to care for what they have. Breaking or losing one toy simply means moving on to another. Replacements can be found anywhere regardless of cost or need.

A Few Less Toys Provide a Greater Sense of Reality

Another thing these two kids don’t seem to have much of is interpersonal skills. There’s no give and take in a conversation; it’s all about demands and what each kid has to have or the one’s insistence that he bully his way through the conversation; yeah I can see that going over well in life. Now I’m not saying too many toys leads to control issues, but when a child keeps getting more and more toys they seem to become more self-centered.

A Child Gains Experience With Less Toys Around

Here’s one that saddens me with this family. There is no real love of nature with these guys. Yes, they try to take the kids outdoors nearly every day when its warm. But you can’t go outside without dragging a boatload of toys with you. And if you do, or don’t, take toys outside they inevitably become bored within half an hour and want back inside. Why, they’re bored with the toys; there’s no appreciation that they’re outside in the open air at all. And while I commend the parents for trying, its become more of a chore for them and the kids.

Here’s another one: while the kids get rewards for reading from school, there’s no actual example to follow at home. If there is coloring or painting there’s no remark on how good it is; just that the papers are all over the floor because the boys left them there to play with something else midstream. And forget singing. Seriously, why be creative when they can just watch the latest Lego movie and tell mom or dad all the new stuff they have to have next month.

Want Mindful and Insightful Kids, Provide More Resources

Problem solving is experienced by using what tools are at hand. In my mind, the less tools, the better the problem solving skills and the deeper appreciation for the solution. If your child has a ton of toys there is no real problem; just give up and move on.

Here’s a solution these parents would love to have; that the kids argue less with each other over who has what toy. Its become commonplace that there almost has to be two of everything in the toy bins. Yes, I said bins (plural). They’ve got five or so. Okay so with so many toys why do they argue? Why don’t they share? If there’s so many than when one wants a toy he’s figured that the other kid can just go find something else. Even with building sets there’s no collaboration. I’ve seen this; they fight over whose blocks are whose even though they both have a large amount of things to build with.

Want to Explain Money Issues to Your Children, Use Freebies

With these two boys the first day of the month is actually called “payday”. They know that each month they will get what they want most often; and the one has it figured out to which parent will give the most toys. Another example is the teenage girl living next door to me; she honestly gets anything she asks for. Laptops, ipads, a new phone every few months, and so on. Just this summer I heard her ask, at 15 years old, for a NEW truck. What?! Really?

One last one to toss at you. You can’t take the two boys shopping either. God forbid they don’t walk out of the store with something; and I mean nearly every store the family stops at. Even if they were just at a store and pull into another one, the question “mom can I get something?” hits the air before they’ve even parked the car.

Explaining Money Issues to a Preschooler

Okay, so how would these parents explain money to the kids? Its becoming increasingly harder for them to do so since the boys have no real sense of limits, or value. Most often this family revolves life around “wants”. Even if some toys are discarded, and they do toss a garbage bag full out almost monthly, the toy pile never goes down.

Clearly this is a little out of control as you can see. And I’m not saying every kid with a load of toys fits this entire scenario; but even if you find your family fitting one or two parts, try re-thinking things with regards to quantity instead of quality.

Suggestions anyone?

William Swan, writer

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{ 1 comment }

Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter January 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm

I used to babysit these kids that had two rooms FULL of toys (plus their bedrooms). It was nuts! I don’t remember having even a quarter of the amount of toys they have. They play outside and they do use their imagination with how to use the toys but it’s still crazy.
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