Guest Author: Alexandra Blackmon
Have ya’ll ever been in the toy aisle at a Target or Walmart? Or stepped foot into a Toys R Us? It’s incredibly overwhelming. There are lights and sounds and buttons and colors and so. many. options.
My husband and I go back and forth about whether our son has too many toys or not enough toys. We often get caught up into thinking he needs more toys that are more age appropriate as we deem his current toys “too babyish”. But then we look around our house and think there is no way that child needs more toys!
At one point we started to feel like all we were doing was picking up toys and finding places to put more toys. All the while our son didn’t even seem interested in them! He would just wander around aimlessly, and I began to worry that his toys just weren’t age appropriate.
Then my husband read an article about how it can be beneficial for children to actually have fewer toys! We ended up taking away half of our son’s toys and putting them in a closet, and it had a tremendous impact on him!
So without further ado, I give you:
Four Reasons to Cut Back on the Toys
- Fosters creativity. The fewer toys a kid has, the more creative he or she has to be in finding ways to play. We have a wooden block set for Oliver and he used to stack a few here and there, but overall he never played with it that much. After taking away half of his toys, however, he now uses those blocks to build really cool tracks and ramps for his cars, and they get so much more use! Children are imaginative little humans- they will come up with new and different ways to play with what they already have!
- Creates problem solving skills. I used to worry incessantly that Oliver was bored. We had a house full of toys and he would just wander around not playing with any of them, and I was just so worried he was bored out of his mind. After talking with my husband and some other parents, though, I realized that boredom isn’t a bad thing! I don’t want to raise a child that has to be constantly entertained. I want him to be able to come up with ways to entertain himself. Boredom fosters problem solving skills- and trust me, they won’t stay bored long!
- Encourages better concentration. Kids can’t focus when there is too much going on. If they have 50 toys, they won’t play with one for any extended period of time because they will feel the need to play with all 50 toys to some (limited) extent. We noticed this with Oliver- he had about a 5 second attention span to any singular toy or activity. Now that we’ve lessened his toys, however, his attention span is rapidly expanding- the kid will now spend 30 straight minutes playing with just his dinosaurs! Since he doesn’t have so many toys, he’s able to take his time and focus more on one specific activity.
- Cost saving. Y’all, my son’s favorite toys are a $20 basketball hoop and $1 dinosaurs we bought for him at Walmart. He has toys that cost upwards of $40 that are sitting around, unused because he just has no interest. Not only is it shown to be beneficial for children to have fewer toys, it’s beneficial for the parents’ wallet, as well!
Like most parents, I think, I can’t resist spoiling my son every once in a while, and I’m sure my daughter too, once she’s old enough! But my husband and I have definitely agreed that we stay simple on birthdays and holidays. We also found cycling through his toys- we put some of them away, and when we bring them out again in a few months it’s like Christmas all over for him!
Toys can provide so much educational value these days, and we don’t want to deprive our son, but we do want him to stay creative and be able to self-entertain! And as an added perk, since we decided to stay minimal with our children’s toys, those aisles in the stores no longer seem quite as overwhelming! If your child seems like they’re not really interested in the toys they have, try taking some away and bringing them back out in a month or two instead of buying new toys -they will love it!
Alexandra Blackmon is a motherhood/lifestyle blogger at These Mama Moments. She strives to authentically share her motherhood journey in a real way. Connect with her on Instagram to see snippets of her motherhood and blogging journey!