You can't blame ninongs and ninangs, lolos and lolas for giving toys. But kids often just end up having too many, and it's a bad thing. It may well be time to inform your kids' toy sponsors to find alternative gifts.
A new study showed that fewer toys may be best for kids' development. Researchers observed toddlers between 18 months to 30 months and recorded how long the kids played with each toy and the manner in which the little one played with each one.
Each child had 15-minute separate play sessions. One group had a total of 16 toys, and the other set had four toys. The four toys were categorized as: 1) educational toys, which teach concepts such as shapes, colors, and numbers; 2) pretend toys or toys that help fuel a child's imagination; 3) action toys or toys that move; and 4) vehicle toys are toys with wheels.
According to the study, which will be published in Infant Behavior and Development in February 2018, when the kids only had four toys at their disposal, they played with each toy longer and played with each one with much more variety. On average, they spent 108% more time playing with the toys, and they discovered 63% more ways to play with each of the four toys. Playing with fewer toys at one given time may help toddlers to focus better and play more creatively.
"We suggest that parents and other caregivers might consider offering toddlers opportunities to play with just a few toys at a time," study co-author Alexia Metz of the University of Toledo told Fatherly.
The suggestion can also benefit your space (storing lots of toys can be an issue!) or the family budget (many hot toys don't come cheap!). But, more importantly, it supports your child's development and promotes healthy play.
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Play is vital to kids because it's how they learn. It helps tots' cognitive, language, and motor skills development, as well as social skills. But, as with anything in life, too much of anything isn't good. Previous research has proven that having few but quality toys is better — and quality doesn't necessarily have to be expensive. That's great news for all parents, especially those who may not afford to buy toys often, and feel guilty about it.
What to gift your kids then if not toys? Aside from essentials like school stuff and clothes, here are top three suggestions:
1. Your time, for starters
Studies have proven that kids are less stressed when they spend time with their parents. We lead a busy life, but we must carve out time for your child. Presents will never replace your presence.
2. Experience such as travel
Kids love toys, but they deserve so much more. Go out and do something together; good experiences will form their memories that they will bring with them until they're old.
3. Books and more books!
Books are an investment. Reading books can take your child to places; the only limit is their imagination. Any kind of book works—story or activity-based books and even educational ones!
Yes, it's the season of gift-giving, but toys aren't the only gifts to give. If your kids' ninongs and ninangs, lolos and lolas, had already bought your child toys for Christmas, don't worry, just don't open all of them at the same time. Remember, less is more.