I learned a lot from this post. I was just wondering, can toys overstimulate a child? My nephew is two and he has so many toys at his house and ours. He is a very spoiled child by my parents and his other grandparents who live in another city in WV. I get to see him once maybe twice a week and when I do interact with him, I will play with him, but when we lay him down to sleep, I read to him because I feel it is important for him be read to. He may not sleep though. I love my nephew a lot, but I know he isn't being understimulated, I worry about the opposite.
Oh I love this! So many people don't get this and I see kids getting way overstimulated. I remember when my son was little trying to get relatives to understand this concept.
Anubisa: Thanks for the comment! Yes, many toys really have no educational value - or the educational value is secondary to other features, like loud noises and flashing lights that can, at times, be as annoying to a child as to an adult. Ironically, though, being spoiled - even with overstimulating toys - often leads to self-imposed under-stimulation (it starts taking more and more to get the child to engage in a sense of wonder or curiosity because s/he knows s/he can have almost anything desired whenever it’s wanted). I'm glad you're working to achieve balance for your nephew. And, yes, reading to a child (when s/he’s appropriately receptive) is one of the best things you can do for a child in terms of preparing them for a good education.
April: Thanks so much! Yes, relatives often either don't realized they're over- or under-stimulating a child - or they just don't care and figure the parents can make up for their unbalanced behavior.