Its toy shopping time! The most dreaded time of year when you walk through the aisles trying to remember all of the children you need to buy for, who likes what and ensure that you aren’t repeating a gift from last year. By now, some of you will be completely finished your holiday shopping (good for you!) and others… well, others will soon be in full-on panic mode. Here are some tips to help you stay on track.
- Buy Age Appropriate Toys – The age stated on the package is not there because the marketing guys thought it looked pretty. It is a guideline that you should absolutely follow. These guidelines are based on extensive research and take safety measures into account.
- Non-Toxic is not just for cleaning products – Check the hazard symbols on the packages, if there are a bunch of skeletons and x’s, you may want to opt for something that talks about being lead free, containing non-toxic materials.
- Toys do not have to have ribbons and strings to be fun – Save your sanity and buy toys that don’t require you to sit by your child while they are doing the activity in order to keep them safe.
- Opt for products that have certifications and/or awards. – These symbols usually mean that the product has undergone some testing by third parties and if they have earned a “seal of approval”, it is usually a good sign. Were the products tested by real families or was there a generic survey conducted? It makes a difference to the value of that seal.
- Quality is key! – If you are going to spend money, spend it on something that is going to last. It’s pretty easy to tell if something is made well by how durable it is and the materials used in the parts. Spend a couple of extra dollars if it will be the difference between a toy lasting a week or a few years.
Most important tip? Remember, the holidays are not just about the stress of shopping, cooking, planning and list making, they are really all about the family time, the down time, the device free time and the memories that your children will carry with them into adulthood.