If there is anything worse than wasting money to appear to have purchasing power, it is wasting money spending many gifts and toys for very young children who will not even benefit from this sacrifice.

But giving out lots of toys is not just a way to keep spending from turning into more happiness for little ones. In fact, there is reason to think that being too “nice” with too many gifts, for example on a birthday or for Christmas, not only does not add stimulation and satisfaction, but it subtracts. Why does this happen? Let’s look at it.

Excess gifts and toys for children

There are a lot of socially normalized customs and habits that lead us to bet everything on abundance when giving gifts to children. It is a kind of ritual in which not only the desire to please the little ones in the house takes part.

There is also an obsession that it does not seem that as parents we are not capable of providing all the necessary care to shape the precious happy childhood . From this point of view, buying a lot of toys is to play it safe, not leaving any side uncovered.

However, the logics of the mind are somewhat more complex than the simple activity of adding up gifts that separately cause well-being in the one who consumes them. This is, at least, what is indicated by research whose results have been published in the scientific journal Infant Behavior and Development and deals with the case of children of a few months of age.

How was the research conducted?

For this study, young boys and girls between 18 and 30 months of age were used. These experimental subjects were divided into two different groups, which would serve to test how the quantity of toys influences the quality of play. Each of the members of the first group was given a total of 4 toys , while those in the second group were given 16 toys each.

From these experimental conditions, the research team was able to see how the quality of play, as measured by the time spent playing and the variety of activities performed with the toys, was much higher in the group where only a few toys were available to the children. Why is this the case? The key is indecision and distraction , as we will see.

The importance of focusing on play

Something as simple as having several stimuli at hand, and not just a few, can completely change the way we think, and the way we think. In the case of young children, who do not have a sufficiently developed nervous system to deal with a lot of information at once, having too many options can become something that prevents them from concentrating on something (and the ability to focus on something is more limited the younger the age).

That’s why, when it comes to giving gifts, less is more. Something as simple as the absence of many gifts is a positive value, because it makes it possible for the option that really matters to appear: that of connecting emotionally with the toy, giving it a meaning that is important to oneself, even if it is in the virtual world of one’s imagination.

After all, the game is based on imagining , and for this it is essential that everything is not already done, that there is no room for fantasy. In the same way that a novel allows us to create a tailor-made fictional world unlike what happens when these stories are taken to the big screen, the youngest in the house have fun exercising their creativity from the presence of the minimum necessary means to start a stimulating and meaningful story. Excesses are just a brake to be avoided.

Bibliographic references:

Dauch, C., Imwalle, M., Ocasio, B., Metz, A. E. (2017). The influence of the number of toys in the environment on toddlers. Infant Behavior and Development. 27;50:78-87.