I hate my kids’ toys
I hate my kid’s toys. There. I said it. I took it off my totally guilty mommy chest. Honestly, I don’t hate all of their toys, but some of them should just go in the trash. Toys test a parent’s patience level in the smallest way possible, and the threshold of annoyance is usually much lower than expected. The toys imposed on kids nowadays seem to be designed by people who don’t have kids, or by people who like to torment their parents.
While these comments may seem a bit dramatic, many parents like me can’t stand their children’s toys. Believe me, parents don’t buy these toys for their children. They usually come from well-meaning relatives or friends. They usually show up at birthday parties and holidays, so it’s hard to hide their displeasure with the gift-giver or find a way to sneak it into the garage for a return trip to the store. Sometimes they sneak in through the gift bag at another child’s birthday party.
My least favorite toys are battery-powered devices that don’t shut down or cause a huge mess for mom to clean up later (I’m looking at you, Slime and Power Sand). After turning to Twitter to consult with other parents, I found all sorts of annoyances.
For Jeff Loiselle, a 44-year-old father of two from Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the toys make a lot of noise. “[Many of them] don’t have volume adjustments,” he notes. “And they’re almost all plastic. No one wants them when the kids get older because no one wants used plastic.”
Meanwhile, the father of Robert Bearden of Winter Haven, Florida, doesn’t like toys that require an app to be downloaded.
“I appreciate that we live in a time when toys can have separate apps,” Bearden said. “But I hate that. I want my kids to act like kids and not use apps when they’re playing with their toys.” Instead, he buys his child items like dolls and playhouses to encourage her to “use her imagination and create her own world” instead of relying on technology to play.
Jenn Wint’s toy troubles include “anything that lights up and plays a song on repeat at a high electronic pitch,” the 39-year-old mom of two from Vancouver told Yahoo Lifestyle. “A few years ago, my son got a microphone that sang. Fortunately, he was too young to notice that it never worked out of the box. Usually, battery-powered gifts are re-gifted, passed on or donated.”
Wint shares that her 3-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son have also just started playing with small pieces of toys like Legos and marble runs. While they don’t make noise, smaller toys can be difficult to clean up and keep organized, and she finds that her children no longer play with toys that don’t have all the pieces faster than other toys.
So what can parents do about the toys they hate? Polite society says gifts should be accepted with gratitude, but do you have to keep something that you or your child will never play with?
“Many friends and family members mean well when they give their children certain toys that often prove to be a headache – or a safety hazard,” Olivia DeLong, BabyCenter senior health editor, says. “If you’re willing to talk to the gift-giver ahead of time about your toy preferences for your child, you can gently explain the toys you don’t want your child to have (and why), and offer some other ideas.”
DeLong also shares that creating a list on a shopping site like Amazon gives parents better control over the toys their children may receive, even if the gift-giver is only using the list to get ideas. My own family has been doing this for several years and has had some success in helping friends and family give safe and age-appropriate items.
But what if a child receives a toy that turns out to be a parent’s worst nightmare?
“For toys that are safe, but you just don’t feel like walking around, you can always donate them to a local charity, shelter or children’s home,” advises Delong. “You can also call your hospital or doctor’s office to see if they want to use them for their patients. Your neighbors and friends may want to take them off your hands, too.”
DeLong says it can be challenging to determine which toys are appropriate and safe for a child’s age and developmental stage. She suggests trying a toy subscription service that picks a set of toys based on your child’s age.
Personally, I love the experience of toys or other gifts. It can be tempting to inspire instant gratification in a person through a gift that can be used immediately. However, my family has found that the memory of the experience often lasts longer than the toy. Children grow out of toys, but the memories they have with their families are timeless.