How to avoid 'toy overload' this holiday season

December 22, 2017

(HealthDay)—Santa's sleigh may be brimming with toys, but some experts say an excess of dolls, trucks and other playthings can overwhelm a child.

Instead of giving more toys this , think about giving children memory-creating such as lessons or family outings, the experts suggest.

"Toy overload is real, and something we see every holiday season," said Joshua Klapow, a at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Just make sure you choose an experience that is truly for the , rather than something for yourself that you think the child will enjoy, Klapow said in a university news release.

However, many kids have a hard time with the abstract nature of a destination gift, he noted.

"They can't see it, touch it, understand it. If you can include pictures, videos or some approximation of what they are going to experience, it will help drive the meaningfulness home," Klapow said.

For example, if you give a child a zoo membership, it could be accompanied by a plush toy of the child's favorite zoo animal.

"The effect, a feeling or the energy created during an experience, is often what stays with us over many years. For this reason, and many more, we are strongly encouraging families and friends to give an experience for the holidays, instead of an object or a toy," said Amy Miller, director of engagement at the university's performing arts centers.

Her advice? Base the on a child's interests. For example, an aspiring dancer may enjoy a community dance class while an avid reader may enjoy a creative writing class.

"You never know how one artistic moment may inspire someone, especially a child," Miller said. "Plus, a new creative outlet is beneficial to their general health and development."

Ideally, Klapow said, a mix of gifts might be best.

"A few smaller gifts (immediate reinforcement) and maybe one or two destination gifts that occur later will allow children to satisfy their developmentally appropriate desire for immediate gratification while still preventing toy overload," he said.

Explore further: Choosing safe toys for the holidays

More information: The American Academy of Pediatrics offers holiday health and safety tips.

Related Stories

Choosing safe toys for the holidays

December 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—When trying to choose the perfect toys for kids this holiday, consider the age of the child first, a leading pediatricians' group says.

Reining in kids' expectations for holiday gifts

December 20, 2017
(HealthDay)—There's little doubt that gift giving has become a central focus of the holiday season, but as a parent you can still rein in kids' expectations when it comes to presents.

Homesickness and empty nest syndrome—coping with separation

August 15, 2016
Homesickness is not uncommon among young people heading off to their freshman year in college, and they might not be the only family members dealing with some separation anxiety. For many parents, empty nest syndrome is a ...

Study suggests giving kids too many toys stifles their creativity

December 6, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers at the University of Toledo in the U.S. has found that children are more creative when they have fewer toys to play with at one time. In their paper published in the journal Infant ...

Recommended for you

The effects of happiness and sadness on children's snack consumption

February 19, 2018
A University of Texas at Dallas psychologist has examined the preconceptions about the effects of emotions on children's eating habits, creating the framework for future studies of how dietary patterns evolve in early childhood.

Cycle of infant reflux signals a call to help mothers

February 14, 2018
Western Sydney University research has found that first-time mothers with mental health issues – in particular, maternal anxiety – are five times as likely to have their baby noted as having reflux when admitted to hospital.

Safe-sleep recommendations for infants have not reduced sudden deaths in newborns

February 14, 2018
An analysis of trends in sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) over the past two decades finds that the drop in such deaths that took place following release of the 1992 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) "back to sleep" ...

Most children with sickle cell anemia not receiving key medication to stay healthy

February 13, 2018
One of the greatest health threats to children with sickle cell anemia is getting a dangerous bacterial infection—but most are not receiving a key medication to reduce the risk, a new study suggests.

Premature babies' low blood pressure puzzle explained

February 13, 2018
Scientists have discovered crucial new information about how a foetus develops which could explain why very premature babies suffer low blood pressure and other health problems.

Babies face higher SIDS risk in certain states

February 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) claims the lives of some 3,500 babies in the United States each year, but its toll is far heavier in some states than others, health officials report.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.