We are currently in the process of adopting kids number four through six. One of the challenges of integrating these new little ones into our family was a lack of space. A few years ago we downsized to a townhouse. With our first batch of kids there was one already out of the house and the other two were on their way. So we were thinking soon it would be just the two of us. As they say, life had other plans.
Since our kids are older I had given away all of the toys they no longer played with. Now, having toddlers back in the picture, we had to buy everything all over again. Unlike having birth children there isn’t usually a shower to help you get all of this needed stuff. Maybe with infant adoption, but seldom with older kids and almost never with foster adopt, which is our specialty.
So, with lack of space and limited funds I set out to the toy store. While I was there I had many fond memories of the toys my kids used to love to play with for hours (or minutes depending on the toy). But during this shopping experience it dawned on me. Do kids really need all this stuff? As I went down the aisles I began to imagine all of the shopping carts I would need to buy all of the toys my first batch of kids previously had.
“Barbies”, “Trampy Bratz”, “Dora the Shouting Explorer”, “Hello Kitty”, “Transformers”, “Strawberry Shortcake”, “Rock ‘Em Sock “Em Robots”, “Easy Bake/Gooey Mess Oven”, “Snoopy’s Sugary Syrupy Snow Cone Maker”, robot pets, the here today/gone tomorrow dolls, the “Disney” empire, and of course with every toy line “accessories not included”.
There’s a known phenomena that when you adopt children you have this intrinsic desire to “make up” for every bad thing that has happened to them. That parenting guilt piled on with constant advertising makes us think we need all of these things to guarantee our child’s happiness. What I have discovered through my parenting journey is the kids need us to be parents, not genies in a bottle.
Armed with this revelation I went in search of information about how this excess of junk is affecting our kids (I’m a known web info junkie). In search of constant progress we often leave behind the good things that have already been discovered. Kids don’t need to have batteries in every toy they own. They also don’t need every new toy that comes out on the market.
In my opinion I think we’re crippling our children by giving them “everything.” We’re not allowing them the process of discovery with their own imagination. A stick can be a sword, a baseball bat or something to poke innocent bugs. Not to mention we’re setting them up to think that they should never be denied anything. Hello future credit card debt.
So what did I get? No faddy Zhu Zhu pets. Instead, I went with classic toys that I plan on keeping so one day my grandchildren will play with them.
- Kitchen Set
- Dress Up Clothes
- Toy Trains
And guess what… when our new girls came to live with us they had never played with most of these types of toys. Plus they are always discovering new ways to play with them. Change isn’t always good. As parents we must constantly evaluate what our kids need more than what they want. Plus, we aren’t shoving batteries up electronic pet’s butts anymore – which means savings in both time and money!
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