It’s the holiday season. Parents are scrambling to pick up the most sought after toys of the season (no doubt one of the products is related to the movie Frozen). Parents and grandparents will go to great lengths to ensure the child in their life has “the hottest toy.”
I’m a mom. I admit that I always wanted my kids to have great toys for Christmas, but never once did I go out of my way to get the “must have” toy. First and foremost I refuse to stand in long lines or fight people for parking spots at the mall. It’s not worth it. If it’s a toy my child MUST have – eventually – I’ll get it for them when it’s not the holiday season.
I’m guilty of over indulging my kids on toys. More so my daughter (my oldest) then my son. I think it’s a common first time parent “mistake”.
For our daughter’s first Christmas – and even for her first birthday – we gave her A LOT of toys. We wanted to give her everything she’d want or need. But she was one. One year olds don’t need a room full of toys. Not only that they won’t have any recollection of those toys when they are older. It’s kind of sad when you think about it. The only memories your child will have of things like their First Christmas and First Birthday is what they see in photographs.
In the article the author talks about a play date she went on with her child where the other child had two toys – some blocks and a doll. That might be taking it to the extreme (my diaper bag had more toys in it then that) but having a room full of toys that rival a toy store is also too much. There is a happy medium and it depends on the child.
Growing up my kids were totally different than one another. They still are in a way. My daughter would go from one toy to the next and get easily bored with things. Our son on the other hand had a great assortment of toys but always played with the same few toys. He would literally play with Matchbox/Hot Wheels type cars for HOURS and do nothing more than drive them back and forth on the carpet and park them in different ways.
I agree with the article that you need to observe your child and see how they play to adjust accordingly.
I work with little children in a room full of toys. It always amazes me how some children can come in – even when it’s their first time there – and make a bee line to specific toy and play with it the entire time they are with us. Other children go from toy to toy to toy, dumping things out, taking things apart, and then moving on to another toy but not actually playing with them. I’m not sure if they are just overwhelmed or this is how they are at home. They don’t actually play – they just like to create chaos. I’m leaning more towards we have too many toys and they don’t know where to start.
The article also mentions how you should keep play areas simple. It also mentions that you should rotate toys. We used to do that with our kids. We would keep some of their toys and books in the closet and let them play with and read the rest for a few weeks then we’d gradually rotate things around. We would never do all toys and books at once but rather rotate out the toys and books they use the least with different ones. We do the same thing at my job – we rotate toys around whenever possible.
I’m “on the fence” when it comes to the “bells and whistles” toys that the article mentions. While I do see the entertainment and educational value of these toys, I tend to go “old school”. I prefer toys that engage a child’s imagination. I’m not saying that I don’t like educational toys. I do! And my kids had plenty. I’m just saying when it comes to play time I like my kids to have imaginative fun too.
I didn’t have educational toys when I was a little girl, and I certainly didn’t have toys with bells and whistles. I grew up with dolls, plush toys, blocks, cars/trucks and my all time favorite toys – my Fisher Price Little People (the wooden ones!). I also made forts out of blankets and pillows, explored the woods behind my home and spent many hours doing fun things with my cousins like swimming, biking, sledding and plenty of games of “hide and seek”.
Even though I didn’t have educational toys growing up I turned out perfectly OK. In fact I’m very smart. You should see me answer the questions on Jeopardy.
What are YOUR thoughts about toys? Are you a minimalist who feels that children just need a few toys or are you someone who feels that the more toys the better when it comes to your child? Or are you like me and fall some where in between?
There are plenty of great parenting articles found at Yahoo! Parenting.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.