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How Many Toys Are Too Many?

In most families, the number of toys and games increases. Parents tend to be overly eager to satisfy their kids’ requests, but many end up knee-deep in their child’s trash or cleaning up toys. The truth is that more toys equal less play. Some parents even like the feeling of opulence or status that comes with more toys and games. But for many parents, the temptation to buy more toys just fuels other addictions.

The Center for a New American Dream encourages ‘conscious consumption.’ It attributes the’stuff wars’ to the relative affluence of the U.S. and the falling price of consumer goods over the last few decades. But psychologist Susan Linn disagrees, arguing that children can’t choose between 20 things in a playroom.

Fortunately, there are ways to eliminate the clutter. Parents should first determine which toys are broken or not used anymore. Children typically play with the same toys on a regular basis. If a toy is no longer in good shape, throw it out. Another way to reduce clutter is to rotate the toys. For example, a child doesn’t need twenty-four toys. Instead, he needs five or six. Then he needs one toy that he’s really good at.

While the initial excitement of a new toy may be contagious, parents should always be firm in saying no. The key to preventing an overstimulated child is to understand the purpose of toys and games. Some toys are useful for learning and developing a child’s mind. So, instead of buying expensive toys, parents should invest in experiences that will engage them.

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