My DC is four and has a loooong list of wishes. He plays nicely by himself and I'm so tempted to buy stuff between holidays/birthdays to enhance his play. Just around Christmas he got into Playmobil and none of his gifts I had already bought were playmobil sets. He adores the castle. Fortunately, we got one as a gift from a friend who's son no longer plays with it. He is so happy and it gets played with daily. Well, as it goes with Playmobil there is always some option to add to it and I'm really torn. He would love a few more knights etc.
How do you handle this? Do you strictly only buy for holidays and birthdays? Do your kids get things just because it's fun and they would enjoy it?
I mainly only buy for holidays(Christmas and Easter, but easter would just be small things) and birthdays, unless it is seasonal stuff. My children all have birthdays in winter, so things like bikes, sand toys, etc, are never given as gifts, as you can't buy things like that here un the winter. I probably did buy the occasional small things when they were little, but once allowances kicked, they are expected to save up to buy anything. Plus once you have more than one child, you very much accumulate more and more toys as they get older and older. The last thing I want now, are more toys in the house, so no I never buy them anything anymore outside of regular gift giving times.
Once in a great while and if our budget can handle it but its usually done by the older ones earning it and younger usually as a just because. And on days like valentines day or easter we try really hard not to do any candy so we would buy them a small toy
When they were littler, yes. They change so fast and don't know what to ask for. Now the girls are older, no, not so much, but "never say never". They want so much now, and I like to give them time to really decide whether it is a fleeting interest, imagining what it would be like to *play with*, or a longer-term desire to keep around the house.
For little kids, play is what is important, a important as hobbies and interests for adults. Do we wait to buy some gorgeous yarn and a new set of needles? Or a new book? Or a few plants from the nursery? Often the answer is "no". And with littles, we often have to guess and anticipate interests and we often strike out (how many dolls did we buy before I realized she much preferred farm animals, and the dolls would languish?) Now I know what they like and don't like, and even the stuff I gamble on isn't far off the mark.
So, for this age, I would definitely buy in-between, perhaps pack away some of the other toys to reintroduce later or give away/trade-in at a consignment shop, re-gift, return if possible, whatever.
ETA: On the other hand if he's happy with this toy, does he need more? In that case, just set the others aside and he might discover them when his new toy stops dominating his attention.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
I wanted to add that my girls (7 and 9) buy themselves a fair number of toys with allowance and what they earn working with me. Consequently, they don't ask me for much beyond birthdays and holidays anymore.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
When my elder son (now six) was younger, he would always ask for cheap crap when we went to Target, etc and I would buy it for him. In the last year or so I've been explaining that it's all cheap, breakable, not good quality, etc and he realized it too- the toys broke quickly! Now, he has an allowance and he has to save up for things. We also have a rule of one in one out- even for me! If he buy one new toy, an old one needs go be donated.
Like someone else mentioned, I do buy them seasonal things "just because" like sand toys to take to the park in the summer, water toys for the pool etc. We've also gotten big into card and board games so if I see one that looks like fun, we get it.
Sure. Toys are fun. If the gifts fit the age, space constraints, and other parental goals why not? I'd actually prefer monthly or quarterly gifts rather than a deluge on holidays which I detest. Pocket Schleich animals for a three year old, special trips for a new Playmobil accessory followed by ice cream. FUN. Don't overthink it.
For the record, I am actually really particular about what I buy and when quality/standards of care and I loathe piles of junk and I never buy junk even for parties but seriously kids love gifts. New goodies are almost as good as new books.
My first three children have June birthdays, which has always made for convenient 6-month installments of gifts at birthdays and Christmas. I really prefer that, because:
* It helps kids tolerate delayed gratification;
* It helps stave off impulse wishes (that thing they saw in an advertisement or at a friend's house, which is their heart's desire for a month - so you plan to buy it for Christmas - then they lose interest in it before Thanksgiving, so you wind up glad you didn't shell out $50 for it); and
* It seems to make kids more excited and appreciative about receiving gifts on special occasions, since getting new toys isn't an everyday occurrence.
It's trickier with my youngest, who has a February birthday and must then wait the greater part of a year, for Christmas to roll back around. However, he benefits from his three older brothers' stockpile of toys and Legos, so there's usually something he hasn't played with in a while, that I can rotate into his toy box when he gets bored with what's already in there.
I like to take advantage of garage and clearance sales and will sometimes reward a kid, for tolerating the boredom of shopping with Mom, by agreeing to buy a little something that's, say, 75% off. And if I come across a reasonably-priced educational toy that addresses a skill my kid is working on right now, I'll go ahead and give it to him. But as a rule, anything substantial - even an unusually expensive, non-essential item of clothing (leather jacket or trendy shoes) gets stored away until Christmas or birthday, whichever comes next.
The first time I really appreciated the value of giving things to my kids this way was when my oldest (twins) were in preschool and I babysat regularly for another set of twins. The other boys' parents routinely bought them new toys and it was hard even for *me* to get through a store or exit a museum (past the gift shop door) with them, without what seemed to me like a dizzying amount of begging and whining - even full-out temper tantrums - over wanting things that caught their eye...and wanting them RIGHT NOW. I realized how nice it was, that if my sons got excited about something, their only effort at pressuring me to buy it would be, "Mom!!! Look how cool that is! I'd like that, for Christmas!" or "I'm gonna tell Santa about that!"
My 3.5yo doesn't really ask for much in shops but we also don't usually go to shops where there is much she would want. If she does point something out it's usually just to exclaim over and talk about and she's fine when I say, ok let's put that back and keep moving.
I get some of their things on a secondhand toy Facebook page and I usually give those straight away. But then, least year, I found a new dolls house $120, reduced to $30 in Toys R Us which I bought in April and saved until Christmas.
Books I usually give them straight away too.
I am planning to reduce the between-holiday gifts as they get older though.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
They have a weekly allowance though that they can spend as they want. They don't really ask for toys now thatthey know they can buy toys themselves.
Usually they get big items - like a trainset or a dollhouse - at Christmas, bikes on their birthdays, so they can spend their money on small - and cheaper - items.
We buy things for the kids throughout the year, partly because I prefer to buy stuff used where I can so it's a case of getting it when the right one turns up. It's not uncommon for me to have a couple of jigsaws or board games and that sort of thing tucked away. When a rainy day strikes, or one of them is off school ill I can pull out something new.
When they were smaller and interests changed quicker it was a more frequent occurrence than it is now. We recently started given them their own money so I expect they'll be buying their own more often from now on.
I also like it as a way to give family gifts. They may get a joint gift at Christmas, but it's not the season for outdoor toys, so we might get them something at the start of the school holidays instead. Last year we went all out and rather than plan lots of little trips we bought a trampoline for the garden.
How do those of you who prefer to buy at birthdays & Christmas handle shared gifts?
Very rarely - my daughter (age 5) doesn't see commercial TV (Netflix only) so she's not aware of the latest and greatest gizmo on TV commericials. We might make it into a Toys R Us once a year, and that's usually for a gift for someone else. Once we've left the store, she forgets about it.
Christmas - she gets a few things, < 5
Birthday - very few (in fact, her party invitations specify to bring a smile, but no gift)
Once August comes and she asks for something when we're at the store, I tell her to ask Santa.
Everything else is craft-related - if we go to a crafts store, we might find something new to do like fuzeart or beads or drawing or painting or clay. I do get a lot of jigsaw puzzles. Books come from library.
My one weakness is getting her nail polish - she's 5 and loves painting her toenails (and toes, but that's another story). That's about the extent of the mid year gifts I get her.