When Your Child Falls In Love With A Crap Toy…Coping Strategies
Every Christmas and birthday for years I wanted a well known slushed ice maker toy. I was denied. My parents told me repeatedly it wouldn’t work, it would be impossible to clean, it would be a waste of money (by the way, those same parents last Christmas bought my son a candy floss maker. Because that is a much better use of cash and far easier to keep clean!!!, I’m not bitter, much).
I still think about that slushed ice maker (whose brand name I may not mention) I was denied, and wonder would it have been less emotionally painful for me, if my parents had bought me one, and let me discover the truth for myself.
Now as a parent I am faced with the same dilemma. What do I do when my child falls in love with a toy that I think is a dud?
It’s happened a handful of times, and so far, I’ve come up with three potential solutions.
#1 Convince Your Child It’s A Dud
I’ve only done this once, but I really felt that it needed to be done. Son #2 wanted yet another radio-controlled flying toy. We have had several toys from the same brand before (which shall remain nameless), that were impossible to control, and quickly ended their lives in a puddle of broken plastic. I just couldn’t face the tears (or the battery consumption) again.
So I set about providing him with the evidence that this toy was not worthy of his love. We sat and watched a couple of YouTube videos of genuine users flying it into walls, ceilings and door frames. Then looked at the reviews which said damning things like ‘takes hours to charge, flies for a few minutes’.
Thankfully this was enough to convince him. If it hadn’t been so expensive, I wouldn’t have done this. But this toy was more than £60 and would’ve wiped off a considerable chunk of his Santa budget.
#2 Accept Its Shortcomings – Buy It Anyway
Don’t involve your child. Research the videos and customer reviews solo, then try to mitigate the toy’s faults. For example, Son #1 wanted a well-known chocolate coin maker last Christmas. All the reviews said it was impossible to melt the chocolate over the bowl of lukewarm tap water (as instructed). So we used a microwave. Most design flaws can be overcome by a forewarned, resourceful parent.
#3 Adjust Your Expectations
This approach works especially well for complicated construction toys that are impossible to put together and/or toys that require a huge amount of set up time.
If customer reviews indicate child disappointment caused by ridiculously complicated toy set up (slotting together pieces, adding stickers, popping three billion tiny plastic characters out of their packaging) either set it up before you wrap it up, or have your child open this present first, then construct it while they unwrap the rest.
For toys that cause disappointment because they are difficult to play with, abandon your idyllic visions of your child playing independently while you enjoy and Gin and Tonic. Instead, get down on the carpet and remain on hand to perform any necessary in-play repairs.
Can You Do Any Better?
How do you cope when your child picks out a toy you just know will be a dud? Tell me your methods in the comments below.
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Cheers, ta, and thank you very muchly.