Do you find yourself avoiding the mall when you’re out with your children? Are you afraid of the horrible screaming, kicking, crying if you say “no” to that toy your child wants at the store?
Well, let me tell you something…there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of as this is what every parent has to face from time to time. And it is not anyone’s fault, neither you nor your child, it’s just part and parcel of being parents.
When it comes to buying toys for your children, it does not have to be an awful experience every single time. As parents, you have to place yourself in your child’s position and understand whether his/her request for a new toy is reasonable and should be considered.
As adults, we are able to make good decisions for our children. This might come as a surprise to some of you but the right toys can contribute massively to the cognitive, social, and emotional development of your child.
The only determining factor that allows your child to make full use of the toys that he/she is given to play with is your sound judgment in deciding which toy you should buy and which toy should be kept away from your child. Here are simple things to consider when shopping for toys for your children:
1- Developmental Level and Age
There are different kinds of toys being sold in the market right now and each toy caters to a specific age group of children from babies to preschoolers, every toy is designed for the needs of different age groups:
Infants from birth to 6 months of age shouldn’t be much of a problem to you when it comes to toy shopping. If your child is at this age, you should look for toys that are attractive in sounds and colours. Other than that, consider looking for toys that are easy to hold, shake, grip, squeeze, and feel. At this age, your child might be teething so look for toys that will cater to this need. Apart from that, toys for infants usually have reflective features such as unbreakable mirrors as babies are attracted to seeing faces, even of their own.
- Older Infants
After 6 months, your child should be able to roll over, sit, scoot, and even pull themselves up to stand. By this time, their motor skills have improved a little which allows them to hold and handle small objects. Therefore, toys that are designed for children of this age will encourage play pretend, putting in and taking out, building, and movement. Look for toys that will help in the child’s development of large muscles so the toys will probably be able to move such as balls as the child will need to move towards the toy to play with it.
Toddlers are children of one to two years of age. Toddlers may trick you into thinking how grown they are by their ability to learn so many new skills in such a short amount of time! As their cognitive development continues to grow, toys for toddlers will encourage the learning of first words. So, most toys for toddlers have educational content such as picture books, music, and nursery rhymes. Toddlers are also more capable of gripping and holding things so look for toys that encourage their use of small and large muscles. Creating is also popular with toddlers, toys that allow them to use their creativity and imagination such as washable crayons, chalk, fingerpaints are perfect for children of these ages.
Preschoolers consist of children from three to six years of age. Children at this age are very inquisitive and curious so they tend to ask a lot of questions. They also love to explore and discover their surroundings as they begin to understand the world around them. Look for toys that allow application of knowledge and skills such as puzzles or board games. Preschool children are the ones that are a little tricky to handle when it comes to tantrums at the store as they are more aware of what you say to them including rewards and punishments for certain behaviours.
2- Utility of Toys
When considering the right toys for your children, it is important to take into account the utility of the toy in terms of its benefits and usage to you and your child.
Most children, if given toys that are limited in utility, will play with the toy for a day or two and get bored with it quickly after. This will not only contribute to more demands for new toys, but will also wreak havoc on your bank account.
Let me just say that toys are not cheap and I understand how parents need to plan and think thoroughly before deciding to purchase a certain toy for their children. Therefore, look for toys that can be used for long periods of time and are flexible enough that your child will take some time to outgrow the toy.
These toys include Lego blocks, play pretend toys (cooking sets, doctor sets, etc.), playdough and many more of the likes. This way you won’t find yourself visiting the toy store every month or so.
Knowing your child’s interests and hobbies will surely be enough guidance for you to choose the right toys for your child. Observe what your child likes to do at home and at school (you can ask their teachers for this).
Some children are artistically inclined, so you can consider buying your child toys that allow them to use their artistic skills such as painting sets, models, or crafts. Some children are musically inclined, so you might think of investing in a mini-musical instrument to cultivate your child’s talent in music.
Some children display high interest for science, you can look for those at home science or STEM experiment sets such as the ALFA and Friends’ Spark kit which is perfect for children who love science. By referring to their interest alone, you will be able to choose toys that are most suitable for your child.
Some toys come with extravagant price tags and let me advise you on this: Never spend too much money on your children’s toys. You need to understand that your child will inevitably outgrow these toys one day and day is actually sooner than you thought it would be.
Children are different than adults in which they have yet to reach a point of stability and conclusiveness to their passion and interests as they are still growing day by day. Plenty of toys being sold in the market are of reasonable price with the same quality as the expensive ones so choose wisely to make the most out of your purchases.
There you go, simple things to remember when shopping for toys for your children to curb those temper tantrums at bay and make your shopping experience with your whole family a pleasant one.