It’s Christmas time again, so bring on the wish lists and piles of presents. Or, maybe not. Brie takes a look at shrinking the ever-growing toy box for good reasons.
This is the first year my daughter has some inclination of what Christmas is all about. When asked what Santa says, she responds “Ho Ho…” (always leaving the last “Ho” out). She squeals at the lights she sees around town, and at only one, she’s become a pro at opening presents. It’s crazy, really. I swear, a kid understands Christmas before they can utter their first sentence.
Now that my husband and I have kids, it’s our opportunity to create Christmas as it makes sense in our family. Yes, it’s exciting. And it seems to be equally overwhelming.
Honestly, it is darn tempting to spoil the heck out of our daughter. She is our first child and the only grandchild on either side. As kids, both my husband and I loved Christmas and we definitely want the same for her. So far in her mind, Christmas is about lights, Santa and presents. And it seems spoiling is imminent this holiday season with so much family nearby.
But a recent Time article, The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting, made me think twice about buying every blinking, flashing and talking toy we come across. The article begins by talking about helicopter parenting and how overprotecting our kids has slowly become the new norm. But it also discusses the importance of “play” for kids, and definitely not with the newest, hippest toys around. “We need to quit bombarding them (our kids) with choices way before their ability to handle them,” Payne says. The average child has 150 toys.
The author goes on to talk about how kids actually benefit from having less “things” and more “time” to play with what they do have. This is where real imaginative, brain-strengthening, and creative play comes in. Endless options, busy, noisy, and blinking toys create an underlying level of unease and stress in a child’s brain. Fascinating.
Of course, I would be lying if I said we weren’t going to buy our daughter toys this holiday season. Frankly I love toys; I’m not trying to be The Grinch here. All I’m saying is that in reading more about the “less is more” idea, I feel reduced pressure as a parent to create something that ends up feeling empty, and financially challenging to maintain year after year. And maybe all the time I save on shopping will allow my husband and I time to plan how to teach our daughter the moral intentions of Christmas in the first place.