So your little one’s first Christmas is coming up, and I’m here to help relieve some stress and make buying that special gift a little bit easier. As a daddy six kids, I’ve learned a thing or two about buying gifts for kids – as well as the confusion that can go along with it.
I’ve compiled a list of my top three toy buying tips – from one parent to another – that will help your child remain out of harm’s way, and will help you hold onto your sanity!
Tip 1: What does the age listed on the toy really mean?
Contrary to popular belief, the age recommendation comes on toys for many important reasons. First and foremost is safety. The age on any given toy is there to help prevent choking. Ages are also created with the child’s skill level in mind. The age on the toy corresponds with the age that the child is able to appropriately play with the toy and understand how to use it. From experience, I know when my toddler boys get a toy that’s beyond them they become frustrated, and I end up having to help every few seconds, which is not very productive. So, heed these age warnings (as I call them) to ensure your child will be happy playing with a toy designed especially for them.
Tip 2: To buy a noisy toy or messy toy or even one with batteries?
Always consider the parent when picking out a toy. Considerations should include asking yourself the following questions: Do they have a lot of these toys already? Are they very busy people? What is their budget? Electronic toys can be very stressful, adding unnecessary noise to an already loud, chaotic household. Not to mention they die after some period of time, therefore creating a probable tantrum requiring the parents to find fresh batteries and change the old ones out of the dead toy, which can be costly as well. Messy toys, like bath crayons add extra, usually unwanted, cleaning to busy parent lives. Fight the urge to buy these seemingly fun toys unless you know they’re appreciated and desired by the family you’re gifting them to.
Tip 3: Where do I buy toys?
A. Think outside the box! A toy can come from many places aside from the tradition big-box toy store. A toy can come from an educational site or teaching store; Leapfrog has some of the best toys I’ve seen. They can come from a sports store (ie: my first basketball hoop), a cooking store (ie: a mixing spoon and bowl or other fun equipment to help Mom in the kitchen), or many other creative places. Check online or ask a friend if you’re in doubt.
Keep these three tips in mind when you’re looking to buy a great gift for a young child; they always work for me, and I hope they’ll work for you too. Happy shopping!