This is a guest post in our latest series, 5 Reasons You Should Guest Blog. Though some of us do not have kids, we have friends or siblings who do. Sometimes deciding what to buy for baby showers or kid’s birthday can be difficult so we had our friend Lauren Cormier write this guest post.
Maybe you have kids. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you plan to have kids some day. Maybe you don’t. Kids or no kids, some day or no way; if you’re walking on this earth, one thing is certain: At some point, you will have to buy a gift for a kid, be it a niece, nephew, or child of a friend. This can be a daunting task, as anyone who has wandered the aisles of Toys R Us can tell you. There are thousands… no, millions… of choices. Fear not! Your task is about to get easier. The following are five things that NO parent EVER wants their child to receive. Steer clear of this list and you will not only eliminate many of the items gracing toy store shelves, but also endear yourself to parents everywhere.
1. Stuffed Animals
This is far and away at the top of every parent’s Do Not Buy list. “But this teddy bear is so adorable!” you exclaim in disbelief. Yeah well, so are the 93 other teddy bears gracing my son’s bed. And the 24 ducks, 13 sock monkeys, 7 bunnies, 3 snakes, 2 hippos, and a partridge in a pear tree. In the years that I have been a parent, I can not recall even one time buying any of my children a stuffed animal. Yet somehow, inexplicably, we have enough of them to stack a pile to the ceiling. I’m considering setting up a nanny cam to see if they come alive and procreate while we’re all sleeping. Now there’s something to give you nightmares.
2. Junk Food
You may think this is a great way to become a child’s best friend. It probably is. What kid doesn’t like candy, right? But it should be pretty obvious why parents don’t want you giving it to their kids. You get to go home to your calm, quiet, child-free zone after dropping off that king sized chocolate bar, but we’re stuck with a sugar-crazed three year old who pukes after the rush is over and cries uncontrollably as she comes down from the high. Or if we want to avoid that, we have to play the bad guy and not let our kids eat the king sized chocolate bar you just dropped off. In that case, we skip the puke, but add a kicking, screaming tantrum. Fun.
3. Toys that Require Batteries
If a toy needs batteries, it means it ‘does’ something. As parents, our least favorite thing that toys ‘do’ is make noise. Talking, singing, buzzing, beeping. Any noise is unnecessary noise because in a home with children there is already too much noise. All parents want is peace and quiet. Noisy toys don’t provide either of those things. The other problem with battery-operated toys is that at some point the batteries will die and need to be replaced. Our kids will come to us and ask us to replace the batteries. We won’t want to because A) It JUST stopped making noise, HALLELUJAH!, B) We’ll have to hunt around for a screwdriver to open the cover which will take more effort than we’re currently willing to put into this project, and C) When we get the cover off we’ll discover that the toy requires ‘C’ batteries and no one ever has ‘C’ batteries lying around their house because nobody ever buys ‘C’ batteries because nothing ever requires ‘C’ batteries except the stupid toy you just bought our kid.
4. Toys with Lots of Small Pieces
Small pieces are easily scattered and easily lost. We think we got them all cleaned up until we start sucking them up with the vacuum cleaner. Then the next time the toy gets taken out, pieces are missing and our kid is annoyed. And our one year old is choking on a piece. And as we scramble to dislodge the piece caught in our one year old’s windpipe, we accidentally kneel on a piece. And we’re screaming words we don’t want our children to hear because have you ever knelt on a small, sharp, plastic toy before?? The pain is something akin to being stabbed (I’m guessing, since I’ve never actually been stabbed. Whatever. The point is, it HURTS.) So don’t buy toys with lots of small pieces, mm-kay?
5. Character Crap… er, Stuff
This one is a little more vague, but here’s a good rule of thumb. If a parent hasn’t specifically told you, “Oh, my child loves Elmo. Please buy her every Elmo toy/book/piece of clothing you come across.”, then you should probably steer clear of character items. This is a rather selfish one (like the other ones haven’t been??) because most of our kids truly love characters, be it Disney, Sesame Street, or Nick Jr., and most of our kids would love to have a shirt with all the Disney princesses plastered across the front. The thing is, as parents, we are inundated with this stuff. We have to hear Elmo’s annoying little voice on a daily basis. We can recite every word in Minnie-rella. We find ourselves singing the Dora theme song on Date Night. We can’t escape these characters, but we can at least limit our children’s exposure to them in our own home. If you still feel the urge to buy that Lightning McQueen tee-shirt, remember this: Licensed character stuff is WAY more expensive than it should be. You could find an equally cute shirt without a character for half the cost of the one you’re looking at. Save yourself some dough. Please!
I hope you’ve found this list helpful in paring down your buying options when shopping for children. Keep an eye on my blog, Oh, Honestly!, for the follow-up list “5 Things Parents Want You to Buy Their Kids”. And if you’re one of those people who’s looking at this list thinking, “Ho ho, I will buy every. single. one. of these things for my niece just because I can.,” may I kindly remind you what they say about payback? Because you will surely get what’s coming to you.