Between flashy commercials playing a siren song for children and “experts” telling parents which toys are the hottest, there is a lot of pressure to buy certain toys. All the hype can make it difficult to make smart shopping choices. Before spending big bucks or scouring stores and resellers for that elusive hot toy, consider these four questions.
Does your child really want that hot toy?
Sure, your child sings the jingle with all the enthusiasm he can muster and recites the spiel from the commercial as though he is Billy Mays, but does he really want that toy? Shop around, especially if your budget is tight, and look for toys you know your child will actually enjoy. Pay attention to the quality and try to find something durable.
Is it better to wait?
Especially at Christmas time, hot toys can become hot commodities. (It happened in the past with Zhu Zhu Pets and Furby.) Before spending an arm and a leg to buy one from a reseller, ask yourself if it is worth the price. Manufacturers and retailers often have upcoming shipments available shortly after the big holiday passes. Watch the news or contact the manufacturer to get additional info about the delay. It is likely a short-term snag.
Can you live with it?
Whether they are messy, noisy or eat batteries, some toys simply drive parents nuts. Before buying toys such as those innocent-looking Singamajigs or Paper Jamz instruments, make sure you can live with them. (The noise and mess factors are especially important during the winter when harsh weather can keep families indoors more than usual.) Rechargeable batteries can save money, but an adult still has to take the time to replace them as they go dead. Add in the need for a tiny screwdriver, and it can become a hassle. It is easier to simply avoid bad purchases rather than dealing with ongoing headaches.
Is the toy appropriate for your child?
As a parent, you know which toys work well for your child and household as a whole. For example, some kids truly love miniature toys, such as Polly Pocket or Squinkees, and meticulously care for the small parts and accessories. However, if you have an infant, indoor cat or dog or know this kind of toy usually ends up in the vacuum canister, think twice before hopping on the hot toy bandwagon. Buying toys that do not suit your household will likely lead to frustration as you watch their premature demise.
Shopping for toys is supposed to be fun. Look beyond the hype and shop for toys your child will love.