L.C. asks from Plano, TX on November 25, 2008
Christmas Gifts-Age Inappropriate
I am not sure how to handle this situation. My in-laws ask what might be appropriate gifts for our daughter prior to Christmas and her birthday. They traditionally do not purchase anything suggested no matter what the price point. I view this as completely ok since they are kind to even ask what she is interested in at this time, and they are after all only wishes. The thought is what counts. My problem is the thought is habitually age-inappropriate. At first we let our daughter open the gift and then tucked it away for later. This is getting harder to do as she is often interested in the item, but it is not safe for her, etc. How should we handle this?
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Thanks for all of the great responses. It is comforting to know this is a common issue.
D.B. answers from Dallas on November 26, 2008
A couple of thoughts come to my mind.
First, perhaps they would have more respect for the wish list if it came from your daughter. Perhaps you could help her write a letter to Santa (or she can write her own, I don't see a mention of her age). Then you could give it to them and tell them which items you will be getting from the list and the rest are fair game for them.
Second, you could try to divert the gift giving by telling them you'd like their gift to be a contribution to her college fund. They could then give her a small gift like a book or a doll or a toy pony (again, don't know her age), so she has something to open, but then they would be helping her education---which is really a gift to last a lifetime.
Third, perhaps you could go shopping with them? Maybe then you'd be able to point them to categories of items that she would appreciate---emphasizing that you are NOT trying to tell them what they have to buy, just trying to help them.
Don't give in when the gifts are inappropriate. Just say to her that this gift will have to be for later. Then explain to the in-laws what you've done and tell them why---always remembering how much you really do care for them.
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M.G. answers from Dallas on November 26, 2008
We get the same thing, but it's usually age inappropriate movies (last year a PG movie for our 2 year old!) We just return them and get something more appropriate.
S.W. answers from Dallas on November 25, 2008
Everyone in my family does Amazon.com wish lists (my sis-in-law puts the name of what child wants what gift in the "comments" section of each item on the wish list that's in her name). They don't have to buy from Amazon, but this gives them a list that they can take to Toys R Us or wherever to get her something. They also tell us what stores they like and encourage us to select gift cards if we don't like any of the suggestions. This works out great for all - it's been years since any of us got something that we didn't want or that didn't fit. I would strongly encourage them to either get something off the list or get a gift card or cash. Has your husband tried talking to them, since they are his parents?
S.S. answers from Wichita Falls on November 26, 2008
H.H. answers from Dallas on November 27, 2008
I would have a nice conversation about this situation with your in-laws. These days the ages are so obvious on the toys it should be easy for them to find something they would like to give. Instead of suggesting a list of things she might like you could say, "oh anything that is labeled for a 18 month old" (or whatever age she is). You could add a little insight like "she really enjoys blocks right now" or "be cautious with too many pieces, it really frustrates her at this age".
Good luck! If it doesn't work I have been known to let them play with it on Christmas and then it suddenly disappears for a year or so...
S.B. answers from Dallas on November 25, 2008
We had the exact same problem. The grandparents kept getting our little one things he wasn't ready for, and then often disappointed when he wasn't immediately interested or disappointed because I wouldn't let him play with it. We always thanked them for the gift and let them know later when we allowed him to play with the toy and how much he enjoyed it. But he is old enough now to notice when we take a toy away, so we just started telling them as nicely as we could that they needed to check the age suggestions and following those recommendations. I think feelings were initially a little hurt, but they seemed to understand. They also seemed to appreciate the advice when they could watch him play with the gift immediately.I know it's hard, you don't want to seem ungrateful. Good luck!
K.C. answers from Dallas on November 26, 2008
This happened with my in-laws too. When my first born was about a year old, my FIL wanted to buy one of those big Power Wheels jeeps - yes, at a year! I had my husband talk to him, because I knew he would be taken seriously, whereas I'm was blown off as the "over-protective" mother. My husband told him that if we had it, our son couldn't use it for a couple of years & we had nowhere to store it. My FIL waited patiently & gave our son the jeep when he was 3. By that time, he was able to enjoy it & we had a larger home and garage to store it in. After that my in-laws haven't had a problem with age as they realize the it IS a safety issue, especially after I had two other children and needed to worry about big kid toys & choking hazards.
Now, like other posters, we have our children make out wish lists. If it's something that is confusing, I'll email the website links. When my kids make out the lists, usually from the Walmart or Target wish books, I am sure we look at the ages so that they are not asking for something that's too old or something that I don't think they can handle. I fudge on this with certain items like Legos for my oldest son. He has many age appropriate sets - he's 7 now - but we will buy him "older" sets because they are more challenging, the pieces are the same size, there's usually just more. He & my husband usually do these together. The same thing with anything that can be done with parental guidance & be put away. My 3 year old daughter has her eye on a cupcake making set...
You can maybe also suggest to your in-laws that you would love to start building up your daughter's personal library. Make out a list of classic books and Caldecott or Newbery award winners. Ask them to write a personal xmas or b-day note so that when she's older she'll have a really special gift. She can look at their written note long after and appreciate it as an adult. I suggested this to my mom last year & she bought my kids a collection of Shel Silverstein books, with CD recordings. They love listening to the poems read or on CD. A great book for Xmas is The Polar Express.
I hope this helps.
SAHM to 3 ages 7, 5 & 3
C.B. answers from Dallas on November 26, 2008
We have had the same problem with our in-laws--and all I can say is it takes time. We just continued to remind them of what's appropriate, and they now, for the most part, listen to us. But when our oldest was a baby, we did have to deal with it a lot. Often, we'd just put the toys away, and our girls got so many other gifts, that we could direct their attention towards the ones that were age-appropriate.