Prior to parenthood, I had no idea about the toy world. Yes, I knew them as a child who enjoyed them. As an adult, I thought of them as being something that you just give. When I became a parent, the world of toys became something else. Guest author Samara is right on target when it comes to them. I never thought toys to be torturous until now….
There’s nothing like seeing a kid’s face light up when she receives the gift of her dreams. Whether it’s a teddy bear, a guitar, new shoes or a turtle, witnessing such delight is something we parents live for.
In fact, we cherish these perfect moments so much that sometimes we forget “to think before we give.”
Too often we shop spontaneously or at the last minute, ignoring product reviews and the fine print. The result: torturous toys (or toys kids love but parents can’t stand!).
We never expected to have such strong opinions about toys (of all the things!). But below are popular toys that we think should be outlawed (unless you want to be driven insane!).
Even if these are at the top of your children’s wish list, and even if your little one begs and pleads and begs some more, listen up and avoid these items like the plague.
(You can thank us later.)
Let’s face it; the sound that young children produce with their first musical instruments is not even close to what we call “music.”
So why do we insist on placing a sound-producing instrument in their small, unskilled hands? Whether it’s a ukulele, a harmonica, a cowbell or a drum set, the best you can hope for is a headache that doesn’t last too long.
Other Toys with Sound
But worst of all are the sound makers that have a life of their own. It may sound like a tale from the Twilight Zone, but we’ve actually witnessed toys automatically turning on and making noise at random times. Imagine you’re alone in the house at night when suddenly the Tickle Me Elmo starts laughing…
Remote Controlled Things
First of all, let’s talk about batteries. Although we pretend they’re no big deal, batteries are a financial burden and a mega inconvenience.
Secondly, every remote control car, plane, or creature that we’ve encountered is noisy and destructive. They whir, beep, buzz, growl, and bump and break things. Even outside, there’s the risk of losing the toy in a tree, a ditch, or in a neighbor’s yard.
What could be better than the gift of life? Honestly, just about anything!
A pet (no matter what type) comes with many invisible strings attached. It will cost you more money and take up more time than you can imagine. Even though your little one will promise to love, cherish, and take care of the critter, we all know the novelty will wear off. And when that happens, guess who has to pick up the slack?
All that Glitters (and Oozes)
Who knew that something so small and pretty could be so maddening? We’re talking about you, glitter.
Once you introduce glitter into your home, it stays. Forever. Years after you’ve made that sparkly Valentine’s Day card for Grandma, you’ll find glitter between the cushions on the couch. And in the washing machine. And on your face.
It’s the same deal with slime and fancy sand. These are good toys only if you don’t mind living with slimy stains, shiny debris and sandy floors for the rest of your life.
Of all the torturous toys, we have to say Bunchems take the cake.
Bunchems are little plastic balls that stick together with Velcro-like hooks to create 3D objects (animals, cars, flowers, creatures, etc.). And while they can entertain your kids for hours, they are actually evil in disguise.
Bunchems refuse to let go of whatever they’ve latched on to. We’re talking kids’ hair, the carpet, your hair, a friends’ hair, a dolls’ hair, your pet, stuffed animals, blankets and so on. So unless you’re OK with drastic makeovers that involve creative haircuts (or bald spots), keep clear of these devilish toys.
Giant Plush Toys
The bigger the better! Or not.
A giant stuffed teddy bear or giraffe under the Christmas tree is picture perfect. But what do you do with it after the holiday? Will it even fit in your kid’s room? How will you vacuum around it? And don’t get us started on the cleanliness issue: how the heck do you clean it?
Other Large Scale Things
So you never got a giant teepee in your room, or an expansive train set to wind around the living room, or a jungle gym with swings and a slide. Get over it. Your unfulfilled desire is no reason to foist these gigantic gifts on others.
Never assume that folks have the room to display or store large scale items. Very quickly a gift becomes a burden when there is—literally—no place to put it.
The only thing worse than “batteries not included” is “assembly required.”
Putting together that giant marble run or a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge or a Lego Death Star sounds challenging (in a good way); however, any toy with more than one page of instructions is like a bad dream. When the assembly also requires lots of tiny pieces, it becomes nothing short of a full-fledged nightmare.
The Reality of Giving Gifts
The thing is, in this day and age it’s already tough to be a successful parental figure. Certainly, we don’t need more obstacles or annoyances if we want to keep our cool while we raise our kids. That’s why we need to shop responsibly whenever we’re looking for a gift for children.
A kid’s toy is meant to encourage distraction, promote joy, and spark creativity or imagination. What it is not meant to do is incite fear and loathing in the parents.
So unless you’re out to settle a score or play a (really mean) prank on a fellow parent, take the above list to heart.
Samara Kamenecka is a VA specializing in SEO and writing, based in Madrid. When she’s not chained to her desk working, she likes to explore the city with her boyfriend, their two kids and their dog. She blogs about everything from pregnancy gear to parenting hacks over at www.tinyfry.com, and pins her heart out on Pinterest.