There are few things more exciting than sharing a holiday or birthday gift with a toddler. The simple act of watching them open the wrapping paper is enough to bring a smile to any parent's (or grandparent's) face. The trick can be finding the right gift; after all, we've all seen just how often the box becomes a more thrilling toy than the actual gift itself.
You'll find plenty of research on gender-based gifting online and there is no shortage of blogs with recommendations for finding "the perfect" toy. Our thoughts are a bit more general; gift buying is a personal decision linked closely to your parenting philosophy. Why you buy is just as important as what you buy, and there are a few questions to consider before making that purchase.
What areas of development are you looking to challenge in your toddler? There is a tremendous amount that unfolds developmentally in the toddler years and a range for when most milestones will occur. Opportunities for gifts provide an occasion to reflect on your child's interest and skills, considering areas of strength and passion as well as areas in need of focus or attention. Some guiding questions include:
What are your personal views around screen time and media exposure? The American Pediatric Association has formed recommendations for screen time, which include the establishment of "screen free" zones in your home and the avoidance of television and other entertainment media for infants and children under the age of two. Furthermore, recent studies (such as the one conducted by Common Sense Media) have documented the affects of media use on young children. Ultimately, each family must create "media rules" that fit their family and gift buying should align with those guidelines. Some questions to ask as you consider gifting in the area of technology include:
In today's culture we are quick to define a gift as a toy item or something to entertain our toddler. For those looking for something slightly outside the box, yet simple we encourage you to consider:
Once you determine your gift-giving goals there is no shortage of items to consider. Many independent and locally owned toy shops offer great personal service for recommendations, while large marketplaces (such as Amazon) offer a chance to read reviews from other parents. Ultimately, the thoughtfulness you put into selecting the item may be less than obvious to the toddler in your life, but your intentions will certainly pay off in the long run.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families and design ideas based on our adventures building a home from the ground up.
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