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  • Presence Over Presents: How Your Child Can Benefit From Fewer Toys This Christmas

    According to researchers, when it comes to toys, having more is not always good for kids.
    by Kate Borbon .
Presence Over Presents: How Your Child Can Benefit From Fewer Toys This Christmas
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Receiving gifts is arguably one of the most exciting parts of Christmas, especially for little kids. There’s no denying the glee in their little faces when they receive new toys from Mom and Dad and other adoring relatives.

    However, most of the time, what happens is that the child plays with his new toy for a few days or weeks, and then when the novelty wears off, he leaves it somewhere and looks for another new toy to play with. This vicious cycle can lead to an overwhelming number of toys simply lying unused in your house.

    If you’re currently thinking of which toy to give your child this Christmas, read this and learn what alternative you can go for instead.

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    Too many toys can get in the way of development

    A 2017 study from the University of Toledo in Ohio, USA discovered that it is still better for children to have fewer toys to play with.

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    The researchers had 36 toddlers play with either four or 16 toys for 30-minute free-play sessions. They found that the kids who had fewer toys “played with each for twice as long, thinking up more uses for each toy and lengthening and expanding their games, allowing for better focus to explore and play more creativity—qualities that benefit children in the long term.”

    On the other hand, the toddlers who had 14 toys spent less time with each toy and moved from toy to toy more frequently.

    “During toddlerhood, children develop, but may not have mastered, higher-level control over attention,” said Dr. Carly Dauch, lead author of the study. “Their attention, and therefore their play, may be disrupted by factors in their environments that present distraction. The results of the present study suggest that an abundance of toys may create such a distraction.”

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    Other studies have similarly suggested that when it comes to toys, less is more. For instance, Motherly reports that according to one study from the University of Missouri, kids who expect many and expensive gifts are more prone to debt, gambling, and compulsive shopping as adults.

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    Childhood development researcher Claire Lerner also said that having too many toys may interfere with kids’ play and development as well, explaining that children “get overwhelmed and cannot concentrate on any one thing long enough to learn from it so they just shut down. Too many toys mean they are not learning to play imaginatively either.”

    Toys can’t substitute for quality time

    It may sound usual, but it’s very true: The impact of a parent’s presence in their child’s life cannot be overstated. The joy that children get from simply spending time with their mom and dad can surpass the excitement of receiving a newfangled toy to play with, no matter how expensive or high-tech it is.

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    Even this is backed up by research. In her study of 3,000 children between three and five years old, Kathy Sylva, a professor of educational psychology, discovered that kids who have fewer toys and spend more time interacting with their parents do better in emotional and social development than kids with more toys.

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    Give your child your presence, not presents

    This Christmas, instead of spending time and money on toys to gift your kids, why not make it a priority to bond as a family instead? This doesn’t have to mean going on vacations out of town. It might just mean doing simple activities together, like cooking for Noche Buena, watching a Christmas movie, or just chatting.

    The bottom line: Those precious moments you spend with your family will remain in your child’s heart and give him strength for the rest of his life—far better than any toy or gift ever can.

    Bonding time with the family doesn't have to cost any money! Click here to learn more.

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