Are Too Many Toys & Games Hurting Your Child’s Health?
With the holiday season fast approaching, you can expect a vast array of toys and games to be advertised on television, in flyers, and certainly all over the Internet. Retailers will be gearing up ready to sell the latest influx of toys and games with the latest holiday deals.
Take a look around your home for a minute and see how many games, puzzles, toys, and gadgets have accumulated. You may be surprised to discover just how much you’ve amassed and how many of these toys and games are no longer being used.
How do all of these toys and games in your home affect your child’s overall well-being?
Creates more anxiety
Too many toys equal too many options. And too many options create undue anxiety. As it pertains to video games, a child’s brain goes on overdrive and hyperstimulates a part of the brain responsible for emotional behavior and motivation called the amygdala. This causes the brain to remain in a hyper-aroused state which results in a heightened state of constant alertness, elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol being released throughout the body, and an increased desire for stimulation. Siblings argue about toys and tantrums tend to escalate with the number of new toys being introduced.
Prevents a child from fully developing their imagination
In general, too many toys of any kind, traditional- or video game-based, can rob a child from delving deep into an activity and making a connection to the mere act of play. A child loses an opportunity to use his/her imagination to be creative and can be overwhelmed and distracted by the sheer number of options.
Decreases the level of appreciation and value for a toy/game
A child who has fewer toys tends to value and take better care of their possessions than someone who has many toys readily available. The message that a child with many toys receives is that if something breaks, there will be another toy there to play with.
Takes away from developing valuable life skills
Children with fewer toys are forced to share with their siblings and cooperate. Instead of giving up on a game or throwing aside a toy so hastily, children with fewer toys learn valuable life skills such as “stick-to-itiveness”, patience, and determination.
If your child travels between you and the other parent’s home regularly, it is important that you are on the same page regarding the number of toys and games at each parent’s house. If not, the parent who has less toys and games will be asked for more and more toys and on will go the toy battle indefinitely. The other parent who has more toys will be doing their child a disservice by exacerbating the negative effects of excessive toys and games on their child.
Dr. Doug’s proposed solutions to get your child A engaged in the right amount Wk of toys and technology:
- Purchase less of the same kind of toy or video game.
- Consider purchasing books to stimulate your child’s imagination and creativity.
- Get your child involved in the arts (drawing, painting, writing,
singing, playing an instrument).
- Allow your child to select one toy or game that compliments their personality and interest.
- Instead of playing a video game or online game, play traditional
games such as board games, card games, strategy games, or puzzles.
The holiday season is a perfect opportunity to play together as a family and strengthen the family bond.
“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” – Abraham Maslow (American psychologist)
For more information on empowering your child and assisting in his/her maturation, decision-making, overall development and becoming super healthy, check out Doug’s official website: www.douglashaddad.com
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2015 Magazine