I’ve heard this phrase. I was aware of it. I figured we had mostly gotten around it. Our floor is usually dotted with various stuffed animals, books, and occasionally an activity or two (those usually get put away)- but we never imagined that was “too many”.
We had already emptied his room of all but two stuffed animals. 90% of his toys are in his closet, out of sight and out of mind. We’ll take out an activity or two for him to play with periodically. He doesn’t get to choose himself- usually he can’t handle the choice and will melt down.
Over the last two days, we’ve had to completely pick up our house and rearrange things a few times to deep clean the carpets. All of those stuffed animals on the floor are now in a box in his room.
He’s doing better. Even while it was in progress, he suddenly got into a much better mood. I expected him to get upset by the upheaval. Instead, he calmed down. At one point, he found his way behind the couches to where a few of his toys were. I sighed and said, not expecting anything to come of it, “You can pick one more toy, but then you have to get out of there”.
He did it.
I stared in disbelief. I told my partner. We tried it again at bedtime, when he ran for the toys again- “You can take one toy to bed with you”. He chose the random handle that’s been floating around and happily ran to his bed.
Too many toys overstimulates a child.
(And our child is particularly prone to overstimulation.)
We honestly didn’t imagine that what we had out could’ve been “Too Many”. For one thing, he generally ignored them. He wasn’t constantly trying to play with them all and freaking out, or constantly running between them. Periodically, he’d pick one up and play with it, or we’d use them in games with him. It didn’t really seem like he was having problems from too many toys being around, and it didn’t really seem like having a couple (okay, so, about 30 altogether) stuffed animals and figurines around could be that big a deal.
Apparently we were wrong.