Buying toys

Do you ever feel like, as a parent, you have to make “educated” decisions about the toys that come into your house?

Like, my daughter wants a Barbie dream mansion. I could just get it for her. It’s on sale right now. But I feel I have to make sure that I’m not just giving in every time she wants something. I have to weigh the benefits of having this toy over another toy. Will this toy be something that will stand the test of time? If we have another girl, yes, two kids will get enjoyment out of it. If we have another boy, it might not be so worthwhile. The boy that we have may play with it, but he’ll be in direct competition with his older sister for it and, therefore, fights will result.

Kids tend not to play with their toys for very long, so it’s hard to imagine that spending any amount of money is a wise choice.

Here’s where I tell my story about what I played with as a child (tongue in cheek):

I wanted a Fisher Price workshop. My dad fashioned a wooden mallet for me out of some scrap wood he had lying around, blunted some nails and gave these to me with a turnip and said, “Here’s your workshop. Hammer those nails into the turnip.” (I may be exaggerating a little bit. But I did have a turnip and a mallet.)

Now, I know that when I tell my kids that story, I embellish a little to enforce the point that they can’t have whatever they want. And by using that story (which is basically true), I make it sound like I didn’t have any toys as a kid and my parents wouldn’t buy me anything (which is definitely not true). But it’s like everyone’s grandpa’s story about walking to school in the snow, uphill, both ways. We know it’s not true, but each generation gets to tell how much harder it was for them. My generation is no different.

So what do I do? Give in and buy the Barbie mansion?


4 thoughts on “Buying toys

  1. Jill

    Maybe ask her to donate a few current toys to children who have no toys (charity) in exchange for the new toy. I think she is mature enough and it supports your minimalistic approach to material things like toys. I am going to try this with the boys but not sure they are ready. Princess castle is such a foundational platform for creative and independent play and dreaming which is one of the freedoms and carefree part of being a kid!

    1. Nancy Post author

      That’s a great idea! It’s something I think about from time to time when I’m knee deep in cleaning out the toys they have outgrown. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to do it in this situation. Thanks!

  2. Life Behind These Eyes

    I agree with that approach too. It will teach her that, in life, sometimes you have to give up something in order to get something.


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