Instant feedback guaranteed…whether you like it or not!
The challenge, as you no doubt appreciate, is how to decide what to buy. Children change their minds as quickly as commercials rotate on the TV.
There’s another dimension, however, that can often be over-looked. How long does the enjoyment and interest last for after the gift has been opened? Many a toy-cupboard and playroom is littered with rarely used toys that deserve a better home.
Guidance to and from parents
Asking their parents is sensible, but you are not the only ones to do so…and there isn’t a simple answer.
Hang on (you might say), don’t the children ask for things all the time? Of course they do.# Spontaneously and without any real thought.
Hopefully the following will help. Please consider sharing it with any parents you know as it may make their lives a little easier 🙂
Above all – avoid waste
Use your judgement to decide whether something is a fad that will quickly come and go. Will they really use it more than once or twice?
Be prepared to sacrifice a small amount of excitement and buy something sensible. Deliver it with an explanation of why it was chosen.
If you’ve chosen well, they’ll appreciate it. Maybe not at first. Maybe not hysterically, but the real value, appreciation and enjoyment will follow.
Some inspiration to get you started
- Vouchers. Ok, maybe not the most imaginative, but it’s like buying an experience gift for adults. Make an occasion of going to a store and guiding them to select the one or two things they really want.
- Clothes, sports equipment or lessons. Particularly as they get older. What do they really like but possibly not need?
- Music and books. Amazon vouchers, iTunes, subscriptions to Audible, Spotify or even a magazine like www.theweekjunior.co.uk
- Tickets. Cinema, a theme park or a stadium tour of their favourite sports team.
- Money. Why not encourage them to save for when they really do need something? Ask their parents for bank account details or give cash and suggest it is saved. There are no guarantees of course, but at least you are giving it a chance of not being wasted!
Avoid nostalgia toys
A common marketing tactic is to suggest that grandparents buy toys for their grandchildren like those they used to have themselves. It goes without saying, this alone is not good enough reason and, if not fully considered, will lead to disappointment for both.
That said, if you still have some of your old toys, I’m sure they’ll love the novelty of playing with them and hearing how you did the same at their age.
Parents – have your say before it’s too late!
People want to buy for your kids and they will give something. If you have a strong view on what that thing shouldn’t be, make it known beforehand. To be fair, you should also try to give some thought to what they may like.
One idea is to ask people to contribute towards something more costly than a normal gift, such as a bike or scooter. Far better something is given by a group of people and really appreciated than lots of small gifts that go to waste.
Using Remind2Find to help buy for children
Remind2Find can be used by anyone over the age of 13. It’s easy for children to create their own profiles and, like writing a Christmas list, it’s part of the experience.
For children under 13, parents can create a profile within their own. This can be treated much like the parents own profile and be updated before an occasion.
With a small amount of thought, a well prepared profile helps both the gift buyer and recipient. Much better than guessing and getting it wrong.
So, what do you do with all those neglected toys from years gone by?
You pretty much have 3 choices:
- Keep them and live with the clutter…or store them elsewhere. In our experience, this is largely delaying the inevitable.
- Sell them on eBay. Why not involve your children in this and encourage them to save by putting the money in a bank account for them?
- Give it to a charity shop. Let the shop decide what has value and what can be thrown away. Feel doubly good about clearing some space by simulataneously helping a charity.
It’s not an exact science, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Please share any ideas you have and good luck!