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Teaching children appreciate the value of toys

child, children, toy, toys, parents, presents

I get the impression that everyone nowadays is too selfish and prefers material wealth, having all the money to pay for the best childcare and the most expensive presents. Sometimes I look at mothers pushing trolleys in supermarkets and the space of toys takes up more space than the actual grocery shopping. The question is are we doing the right thing by flooding our darlings with all the most up to date toys?

Let’s face it, an expensive kitchen toy is not only going to take up most of the space in your home making it difficult for you to move but will certainly not promote the child’s imagination. It’s only a kitchen and next time your child will want you to buy him or her a post office, shop, hospital or a petrol station. A simple table, an imagination and a bit of time from someone willing to be a customer or a patient is all there is to it for a child to enjoy hours and hours of imaginative fun. The child learns in this way about the roles he or she will be later taking on in life.

The rule ‘less is more’ is particularly true when it comes to choosing toys for young children. In today’s society children get so many toys so many stay unopened in their cupboards and the rest of them are scattered around the house, falling down from shelves and are straight away off-putting as children do not know what to choose first. Some parents use even whole rooms for the purpose of storing toys reminding more of a toyshop than of a bedroom.

Children do not only receive presents from their relatives but also from their friends when they invite them to their birthday parties. Often the whole class can be invited to a disco party and the child can suddenly be overwhelmed with 30 or even more toys not knowing quite what to do with them all. After the excitement of opening all the presents there are only very few that the child will like or make use of.

Unfortunately children do not appreciate all these great presents; they are not to blame if there are so many. It might be a good idea to talk to children about how lucky they are explaining that many children in the developing world do not have the luxury of any toys. It could be difficult for these boys and girls who live in luxury to imagine what live would be like if they had no toys, but stories about children from third world countries could help. They will be able to see the imbalances in wealth and could possibly decide to send some of their toys to less fortunate children at Christmas or distribute them to charity shops.

Maybe next time you are shopping and are picking up another toy give it a thought.
1.How many similar toys do you already have at home that your child does not really use?
2. Do you really have enough space for the new toy?
3. Are you only buying this toy because your child insists and because everybody else has it? Then teach him or her to learn to accept no. Your authority is important and will pay off especially as your child gets older.
4. Instead think what you could do with your child to make him or her happy; buying expensive toys for your children does not replace quality time with parents.
5. If you really think your child needs a new toy think of something educational or a game that your child will enjoy playing with siblings or parents.
6. If you want to avoid tantrums in a shop do not take your child with you shopping.
Published: 2006-06-27
Author: Martina Roe

About the author or the publisher
After finishing at business academy at 18 I went to London as an au-pair, later I worked for an import company in Prague. I live in Brighton (England) now and have two sons aged 10 and 11. I like to volunteer at their school. For three years I was running an au-pair agency. I also studied psychology, sociology and languages as part of my BA Honours Degree with the OU. I am currently contributing with articles on the Shvoong website and am translating a compilation of adventure stories from Czech into English. I speak 6 languages and am able to translate into English, Czech, Spanish and German.

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