Years ago, my Mother asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her I wanted another Ginny doll. She said, “But dear, you’ve already got several Ginny dolls. You don’t need another one.” End of story: I didn’t get another Ginny doll for my birthday. I don’t remember now what I got but I do remember that I didn’t get what I wanted.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing my Mother. She did what she thought best for the daughter she loved. And I certainly did celebrate birthdays with presents I did want. But a true present-for kids and for adults-is something they want or a wonderful surprise that you know they’ll love. Something a child needs but doesn’t necessarily want (like socks) isn’t a present.
Seven Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing Children’s Toys
1. Get them what they want if you can afford it and it doesn’t contradict your values. Make sure your kids know which toys are off limits because of your family values.
2. Get them what they want even when they have lots of that toy.
3. Get them what they want even if you think the toy is silly or ugly.
4. Don’t give them everything they want-that’s called over-indulgence. Find out what they want most. What they want least.
5. Don’t give them what you loved as a child unless you know it’s something they want.
6. If your children want something you can’t afford, tell them up front that you can’t afford it.
7. If you have several children close in age and are choosing one big present, make sure each child gets a small present that’s just for them.
Now sit back and enjoy birthdays, Christmas, or Hanukkah with your kids and grandkids. Make believe with the dolls, build things with Legos, and laugh along with the silly toys. Just remember to take a couple of videos of all the fun. Kids (and their parents and grandparents too) love watching old family videos. Now there’s a great present for everyone.