There comes a day when your little one will take your fun away.
(Yes, I know the above statement can be in reference to one of the many time-draining, life-zapping scenarios that children throw at us. Please, don’t let me get started.)
However, in this particular instance, I’m talking about the day that your child picks out a toy for him/herself. At some point, he’ll point to it on a shelf, in a magazine, on the television, etc… and will ask, “Please, can I have this?” And, all those times that you visited your local toy store, carefully picked out a fun, educational toy and watched the joy spread across his face as you presented it… will be nothing but a distant memory. Because now he knows exactly what he wants and wants ONLY that one particular toy – and does not suffer fools gladly.
I was this child. For the longest time, I was content to play with almost anything I received, until I discovered Barbie dolls. Sure, building blocks and water colour paints were fun, but at the tender age of four, I wanted a Golden Dream Barbie. Badly.
I’m not quite sure if Golden Dream Barbie was age appropriate at the time I lusted after her; I’m not even sure what my parents thought of my incessant pleading and begging for a doll that frankly, was quite gaudy compared to the more illustrious Peaches ‘n Cream (which would eventually turn out to be my favourite) and Magic Moves (which I’d later campaign for too). But from that moment on, I became the child that wanted to pick out her own toys, and carefully prepared Christmas and birthday wish lists that were to be followed to a tee.
(My parents threw in the towel surprisingly quickly and presented me with cash at every occasion from there on in. Totally took their fun away, however, #winning)
I suppose the question is – who drives the purchase of toys in your household? Do you leave it up to your children to decide, or do you stick to your instincts and buy the toys that you think will be the most beneficial to them? (Maybe it’s a little of both.) However, if you do decide to take pointers from your kids, at what age do you let them influence – or dictate – your purchase decisions?
These are all burning questions to me, as Ryder has recently started asking for specific toys, and actually refuses all other items that do not fit into his master plan. On one hand, it’s great to have him know what he likes, but on the other, I feel he’s missing out on so many great learning opportunities through play. (Thankfully his little brother is interested in practically everything – it makes up for having one “picky player”!)
For those who are still primarily the decision maker for toy purchases, I’m pleased to share a great, new resource that will help parents and make their lives easier:
The Joy of Learning Playtime Guide identifies all the ways a child will develop their skills through playing with any particular Fisher-Price toy. This guide includes 12 Elements of Enrichment, each under one of the major pillars – Physical, Cognitive or Social – that are critical in each child’s development.
In 2013 and beyond, these icons will be displayed on each product’s packaging, so that moms can fully-understand how that product can aid the individual areas of growth for their child. For parents looking to enhance a child’s skill – just like Golden Dream Barbie strengthened my self-expression and confidence – I think this guide is an incredibly useful tool.
Tell me: Who/what influences you most when purchasing toys?
I am a Fisher-Price Play Ambassador and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.