Parenting 101,  Toddlers (13 to 24 Months)

This Is Why Your Kid Will Be Happier With Less Toys

We are all guilty when it comes to buying our kids everything they need, including lots and lots of toys. Stuffed animals, dolls, toy cars, you name it. It all ends up in your shopping cart at one point and our heart melts every time we see those cute faces light up when you bring home a new toy. But do our little ones actually need that many toys?

According to the results of a recent study that was published in Infant Behavior and Development, the answer to that last question is “no they don’t” and we are going a little (or a lot) overboard with buying stuff for our kids. The average American family has about 250 different toys in their household. But results show that young kids are actually happier when they don’t have a whole toy store to choose from.

For the study, researchers observed two groups of children between the ages of 18 and 30 months. They provided one group with four toys and the other group received sixteen items. It turned out that the children who only received four toys were much more engaged for a longer period of time and even found multiple purposes to use their items.

The researchers think this is actually a great thing,  because according to them  “Deeper exploration may lead to increased imaginative play,” which is good for the development of your kid’s fine motor coördination and cognitive skills.

Now, we do not suggest that you throw all your kid’s toys out of the window until there are only four left. We suggest you find a place to store them and give your child only four items to play with at once. By rotating the toys, your child won’t get bored with them after just a few uses. Plus, your bank account won’t be emptied out by all the visits to the toy store. But hey… we also understand the urge to spoil your little nugget all too well!

How many toys do your kids have?

The Single Mom Cronicles


    • Deborah

      Hi valeria,

      Thank you for your comment. The researchers were not saying that it’s a bad thing to spoil your kids or that you shouldn’t do it. Everyone is free to raise their kids the way they want to. All they wanted to do is research if there were differences in cognitive capacities (the ability to use their imagination) between children who have lots of toys and ones who don’t. That’s all… 😉

  • Mommy to Maura

    After having tried IVF for yeaaaars I finally got pregnant with our little princess. After the delivery we found out she would be our first but also our last blessing from heaven. That might also be the reason why we (my husband and I but also the rest of our families) spoil her rotten. I do notice that she gets bored easily when were in a place where there’s no toys for her to play with and we forgot to bring het iPad. But in some cases it’s hard not to spoil your child. In our case it’s not because of guilt but more out of appreciation for the only blessing that we have received (and maybe partly because of sadness that we can give her a sibling).

    • Deborah

      Thank you for sharing your story, Maura’s Mommy, we really appreciate!
      And we probably would have done the same in your situation. That’s completely normal 🙂
      When you really want more children but can’t have them, you tend to go a little overboard with the one you DO have.
      I have one son myself and must admit that he has way more toys than he actually needs 🙂

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