How much do you spend on your kids toys?
It’s that time of year where there are toy sales on wherever I turn. I admit, I used to be an absolute sucker for toy sales. I’d go through the catalogues and carefully pick out the “perfect toys” for my kids. I’d then either layby them for Christmas, or buy them and put them away for upcoming birthdays or the end of the year.
But the further down the motherhood gig I got the more I realized that my supposedly organized approach wasn’t really working.
Firstly, whenever I went into the sales I’d get caught up in the trolley chaos and find myself buying ridiculous specials because you know, they were 60% off. Never-mind that my child wouldn’t be remotely interested in the fact the toy in question made fake ice-cream, they’d want the real thing. A standout purchase was the inflatable house filled with those plastic balls. I figured that would save me on the torture of taking the offspring to those play centres with them. Nope. They showed a desultory interest in it, and played in it once or twice. And guess what? The next time we went off to the play centre they took off shrieking to the inflatable house as if they’d never seen one in their lives before.
I learned to purchase items that could be added to and made collections of rather than one offs. More kind of classic toys rather than the latest craze. Building blocks, that kind of thing. I also realized that buying stuff for the kids for Christmas, six months before Christmas wasn’t practical at all. I don’t know about your kids, but mine change their minds more frequently than they change their clothes (which is daily by the way) so what they wanted in July wasn’t what they wanted in December. And it’s all very well saying they should be happy with what they’ve been given. You try staring into a four year olds tear filled eyes when they say reproachfully to you “I wanted the yellow teletubby” when you’ve given them the stuffed giraffe they said they’d simply die without some months before.
I do have a presents cupboard which is useful for birthdays and I’m not alone. According to a recent study from Kmart 40% of us do this. The study also found that on average Aussie mums buy 42 toys per year, with an average spend of $1,160 per household. Uh huh.
That’s a whole lot of shopping. I’m pretty sure I add to that average as well. These days I’ve clocked the fact that most stores have sales before Christmas as well, and that shopping online is also a surefire way to avoid the stress of stores at the busy times of year. Sometimes I break all my own rules and just hit the sales. Because that’s what parenthood is often about, just figuring it out and it’s different every day.
How do you approach toy shopping for your kids?