October 13, 2009

{Do More Toys Mean Less Time Spent? Is it What Kids Really Want?}

To start, I really wished I had the numbers to prove my thought, but I do not. However, I really believe the numbers are somewhat in the right ball park.

I keep thinking about how many toys I had as a young kid growing up in India. Most of the gifts I got were books, and I would bet my parents received even fewer toys than I had.

When I start thinking about the early days of my daughter's childhood, I recall a room in her mom’s basement full of toys. Her bedroom in her mom’s house had so many plush toys that most nights she has to fight for space when she went to bed. And of course, she had more toys in her room at our home. My daughter’s case may be a slightly (or more than slightly) extreme case, magnified by the time I was absent and was trying to compensate for my absence by buying her more and more toys.

But is that what she wanted? Yes, the toys did act like “local anesthetics,” and may have made my daughter forget for a moment that her dad was absent. Maybe it was convenient for me to hide behind her “thank you, Dad, for the toy” and not worry about her repeated questions “what time will you be back from work, Dad?” Doesn’t it translate into the more toys my daughter got, the more time she missed out on spending with her dad?

The season for toy buying frenzy is just around the corner. This Christmas, why not buy fewer toys for our kids, and instead give them a “dad and daughter, all day together” gift certificate? And if we have to buy a gift, why not buy a gift that allows us to do a project together? My daughter’s favorite father daughter project was the “Pretty Petals Scented Flower Maker” project or the “home made pottery project” that we got from Michael’s.

I really wish someone gave me this wisdom a few years back and not 96 weeks before she leaves for college. But there is some good news. When I asked Raka about her favorite projects that she and I worked on when she was younger, her answer matched my guess.

Yess! Not bad!

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