I went to school with dozens of kids that received every new toy out. They would bring it to school and show everyone and I always had that twinge of jealousy because I could never convince my parents to buy me the latest fad – so how were these kids doing it?
It was toys like Polly Pocket in early primary school: pink, shiny and plastic. A little girl’s dream toy! Later, it was Tamagotchis and virtual pets that you had to feed and walk, otherwise they’d die. They overtook the playground. I never had either of these things – that’s probably why I remember them so well!
We would visit toy stores and mum would say “No, you can wait until your birthday and if you still really want it then we’ll look at it”, or “It’s too expensive for what it actually is, I’d rather buy you something else” or simply “it’s just junk.” Often I had to wait for months until my birthday or Christmas, by which stage they just weren’t ‘cool’ anymore.
We don’t wish to admit our parents know it all, but looking back Mum was dead right.
How many toys are too many? What are the occasions that warrant new toys? And how do other children feel when your child is taking the latest and greatest to school when they have been given a “No”.
It may seem that my jealousy for never having the newest fad toy is taking its toll, but it has really taught me a lesson. While marketing to kids is one thing, it seems the adults are getting sucked in too. It probably is junk and will last all of 5 minutes until the next fad comes along. The toys I had, I loved and I remember every single one of them.
I think when I’m a parent I’ll take the same approach mine did. Apart from never having a Polly Pocket, I think I’m OK!