Buy Toys like an Adult, Not a Child. Be Smart and Be Intentional
by Charles Morgan
July 30, 2018
Buying toys for your little one should be a fun, rewarding experience. After all, toys bring a child enjoyment, entertainment, and enrichment. However, if you take a blind, half-hearted approach to the process, you’ll likely end up with buyer’s remorse. Remember, you are the adult and not the child searching for that perfect toy. Take advantage of preparation and logic.
Shopping Preparation: Have a Plan
All toys are not created equal. So have a good idea of what you want before you begin your selection process. There’s a countless amount of toys begging for your attention and ultimate purchase. Thus, the selection process can seem overwhelmingly daunting. Do yourself a favor and prepare. Be well informed well before you can click ‘Place Order.’ Here are some tips that will help make your toy buying experience more intentional and successful.
About Kids Toys: Know Your Choices
Toys are much like children, they come in all shapes and sizes. Determine what you want your focus to be.
Are you hoping to develop your child’s ability to problem solve? Then steer your search towards puzzles, memory games, and sorting toys. Cognitive learning toys promote brain-cell connections, enhancing your child’s intelligence.
Development of motor skills
If you are looking to build your child’s dexterity and coordination, then direct your selection process towards blocks, arts, crafts, building, and creation toys.
It doesn’t get much better than seeing your child mentally engaged with a toy. Learning and having fun is a great combination, and vital to your child’s development.
A tired child is a happy child. Wait, let’s rephrase that. A tired child ready for a nap makes a happy parent. Toys not only can promote learning, but living a healthy lifestyle as well.
Time engulfing potential (aka free time for you)
There is no shame in admitting that you are looking for a toy that will give you a break. Parents need time to relax and get things done, and children are demanding.
This can be a highly debated and sometimes touchy subject matter when it comes to toys. The amount of technology time you choose to allow your child will most probably be different from other parents. That shouldn’t matter, just be knowledgeable and comfortable with your decision.
One of the great things about toys is that their aim is rarely singular. Many, if not all toys cross categories to some degree, and check off many boxes of your intended purpose.
Observe Your Child
This might seem like a no-brainer. After all, you watch your child all day. But there’s a vast difference between watching and observing. Take notice of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Then decide if you want the next toy purchase to build on his/her strengths, or focus on weaknesses.
“The older I get the less I listen to what people say and the more I look at what people do.”
Don’t listen to the endless amounts of ‘Oh, I want that!’ These pleas are fleeting to say the least. Instead heed the words of Carnegie, and watch, not listen, for what your child wants.
Does the ‘Battle of Tried and True’ vs. ‘Latest and Greatest’ Matter?
Updated versions of the toys you used to play with should never appear to be outdated and a red flag. There is a reason why these toys have withstood the test of time. With that being said, it would also be foolish to disregard the newest advancements in toys. Rather than focusing on the year the toy your eyeing hit the market, consider these factors.
Durability and Longevity
When trying to determine how strong or frail a toy is, also take into consideration how rough your child is with toys. While focusing on your child’s play, also try to get a sense of how long he/she will have an interest in the toy. There is certainly no crystal ball for this task, just make your most educated guess.
Perceived Value NOT Price
You, the buyer, should view the price relative to its worth in terms of the value it will bring to your child’s toy collection. This does not mean you should shy away from pricier toys. Just don’t get caught up in the false notion that expensive is better.
One caveat of reviews is to take the source it is coming from into consideration. Try to gauge if it is a rant of a parent that makes a habit of complaining online, or an opinion you can trust. When in doubt, it is always safe to go with the law of averages.
Upkeep and Maintenance
Try to avoid the following scenario: You purchase a great new toy, but with it comes an endless cycle of assembly and reassembly. It is safe to say that if you are spending more time with a toy than your child, you shouldn’t have bought it. To a lesser degree, this holds true with batteries as well. Try to steer your search away from toys that are a bottomless pit of battery usage.
Don’t View Toy Advertisements Through the Eyes of Your Child
Don’t let the flashy and well-produced toy advertisements get the best of you. Spoiler alert: toy advertisements are more than general information, they are aimed at selling! Again, remember that you are the adult and you have your preparation and logic to rely on.
What You Choose Matters
By no means should you over complicate the toy buying process. Just know that finding the right toys helps lead to healthy and constructive play. In turn, this positive play is a vital aid in your child’s development.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and frenzy of toy buying. After all, toys are fun! But don’t let impulsiveness or lack of preparation get the best of you. Rather, like many other things in life, it is wise to be intentional. Doing so will make your next toy purchase a satisfying and rewarding experience.