Birthday Wish Lists Made Easy (Easier….Less Painful….Not So Traumatic)
One of my original goals when establishing my Toy Tattle blog, was to help parents pull together an awesome birthday for their kids.
I know there’s more to a birthday than gifts, but a significant chunk of your budget will be going on toys, and I want to help you get the most from your money.
In this post I give you my top tips for creating, and fulfilling, the ultimate birthday gift wish list.
Suggest Awesome Toys You Like
You can compete with toy TV adverts by putting together your own list of suggestions.
Have a browse around in real life shops, online toy retailers, and of course on this fabulous toy blog.
Make a short list of toys that you would like to buy for your child for whatever reason – maybe you were denied this toy yourself as a child (my heart still breaks every time I see a Mr Frosty or Cabbage Patch doll), maybe you like the educational value of a toy, or perhaps you’d like to play with it yourself.
Next, you need to share these suggestions. You could hook them up to a Pinterest board like I have done, or go old school and make a real-life board of catalogue cut-outs. Promotional YouTube videos are also a good way to show off a toy, and appeal to kids as they give that ‘as-seen-on-tv’ effect.
Once you have loaded the dice in your favour, you need to step back and let your child give their feedback. Present the toys as neutrally as you can by introducing them as ‘here’s a few things I thought you might like for your birthday’ as opposed to ‘I really don’t want to buy you the battery-laden tat you’ve just seen advertised on Nickelodeon so please choose one of these instead’.
Understanding What Your Child Wants
The toys your child wants are most likely the toys they’ve seen advertised on TV, or played with at a friends house.
This means that instead of your child usefully providing you with a product code, recommended price, and retailers’s website, they will instead offer you a vague description of ‘it’s like Skylanders LEGO’ or ‘it’s a Nerf gun that comes apart and you put it back together again’.
To seek out what these unnamed but much wanted toys are, try these techniques:
* Record kids cartoons, fast-forward until you get to the adverts and watch with your child until they indenitfy THE toy;
* Browse toys online, make a short-list of likely candidates and ask child to pick THE toy from the line-up;
* Ask me – leave a comment below or on Facebook, or Twitter and I will get back to you with a list of suggestions.
* Ask your friends – they might have seen THE toy on TV, in shops or even have one themselves.
Weeding Out The Duds
Toy Brand Managers hang about on this blog, so I’ll whisper this really quietly: Not all toys are good. Some of them are actually pretty rubbish.
As a parent, and ultimate guardian of the birthday purchases, you’ve got a decision to make. Do you buy the toys your child wants, regardless of reviews, or do you weed out the duds in an effort to avoid birthday disappointment.
Use the customer reviews online to check up on the quality of a toy. If you are based in the UK, and are struggling to find reviews for a product, head over to Amazon.com as you will find approximately 10 reviews on there, for every 1 review left on Amazon.co.uk.
You can also look on YouTube as lots of bloggers do toy test videos, and seeing the toy in action will help you better judge if it’s any good.
If your research uncovers a wished-for toy that isn’t really very good, you need to decide whether to go ahead and buy it anyway or drop it from the list. Please, please talk to your child about this.
Most likely you will not be buying everything on the list. You need to manage your child’s expectations so they know this is the case, and to give them the opportunity to tell you about which toys are most important to them. You should also implement a birthday list cut-off date, after which time no other toys can be added to the list.
Making Your Budget Stretch
You should mostly be able to avoid paying full price for toys. On any given day, one of the big retailers will be having a toy sale. If you start shopping early enough you should get the opportunity to buy most toys at a discounted price. If you like shopping at Amazon, make a wish list and check it daily as it will track the prices, making it easier to spot bargains.
Good luck toy hunters, it’s a jungle out there.
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Cheers, ta, and thank you very muchly.