Even Science Says Not To Buy Your Kids So Many Toys This Holiday Season

by Julie Scagell
Image via Getty/Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy

Less toys means more imagination for our kids

If you have kids and have ever experienced a Christmas morning where they are old enough to open their own presents, odds are the entire ordeal lasted a total of 65 seconds — because kids, right? Luckily, a new study confirms what most of us have known all along – the less gifts we give our children, the better.

The study, done by researchers at the University of Toledo, found that giving our kids too many toys actually reduces the quality of play for toddlers and kids who are given a fewer number of toys focus better and play more creatively.

Researchers observed 36 kids, ages 18 to 30 months, as they engaged in individual free play. They found that the kids that were given more toys tended to move quickly from one toy to another whereas those with fewer toys focused longer on their toys and engaged in more imaginative play.

“When provided with fewer toys in the environment, toddlers engage in longer periods of play with a single toy, allowing better focus to explore and play more creatively,” researchers noted.

As I’m reading the study, I’m thinking to myself, “Yesssssss, that makes complete sense. I am done buying all this stupid shit my kids won’t remember three hours from now.” Most of it is useless, meaningless garbage.

And yet…

I’m also thinking to myself, “Of course I’m still going to buy them the same amount of random tchotchkes I did the year before because I don’t know how to stop the madness.”

Of course a rational mind knows they don’t need any of the things we’ve bought them — but it’s hard not to buy in to the notion that the holidays are a time we should reward our kids for being good all year round. Then parents everywhere laugh and laugh at the thought that our children were good “all year round.” Hell, my kids can barely make it through an afternoon run to Target let alone 365 days in a row.

So why do we feel compelled to drop hundreds of dollars on one morning, just because we are “supposed” to?

According to this study, parents are better off opting for fewer presents under the tree this year. It not only benefits our children and their imagination, but it can take the pressure off the holiday season so we can all sit back, relax, and concentrate on what’s important.