I don't know what families you're talking about...
Around here, the earlier it breaks or the earlier the batteries go flat, means the sooner the toy will stop making those infernal noises, or stop moving or stop projecting whatever projectiles.
You make it sound like you WANT that to keep the toys operational for as long as possble.
Even my parents had the right idea. They only ever bought two sets of batteries (months apart) for my favorite toy train, which blew a whistle and rang a bell. I went so far as to steal the seemingly endless supply of torch batteries my father kept, to force-charge the flat batteries in my toy train.
Hey I was 6, what else did you expect?