26 answers

Help with Grandma Who Is Buying Way Too Much for My Kids

Hello Ladies! You have been so helpful with my other requests, so I thought I would come to you with another!

My mom loves buying things for my kids. It can be really nice and helpful, but it is getting to be way too much. For one I would prefer to have a different style of clothes for my kids, but can't justify spending more money when they have perfectly good things in their closet. And our house is overflowing with toys. We don't have a playroom and so toys are getting broken in my kids' bedrooms because they have too much.

I know I should just give a lot of their stuff away, but it is all from her and so when she comes to visit she asks about the things that aren't out.

She buys gifts for birthdays and Christmas, but also for Valentines day, Halloween, Easter and any other holiday that may come up. So far this year both of my kids have SIX presents under the tree from her and she is STILL shopping.

I want Christmas to be about giving more than receiving, but I am struggling with that when my kids are getting so much that they don't need.

I know I should count my blessings, and I do, but I am wondering if you have any advice for me to get her to buy less with out offending her...she takes offence VERY easliy. I would like to tell her two gifts for the kids and the rest will be donated to charity or to have her put money towards a college fund, but I know both of those would offend her because I have tried to joke about them in the past.

Please help!!!:)

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Honesty is the best policy. It will be hard, but tell her the truth. It's wasting her money if the kids don't even play with the toys. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

I have 7 and my MIL is the same way, boundries can sometimes help. But I have come to the realization that I can't stop her from doing it, she is spending her money and it is her's to give away. But one thing that has helped a little especially with the excess is to take it to her house when she gets new things for the kids, she has seen how mush overflow I have and has gotten better about at least asking about something first.

I don't know what the right answer is, this has been going on as long as granparents has exsisted. But GOOD LUCK!

More Answers

My mom is thesame way!! This is how I redirected her "giving" over the years...

I would tell her a month in advance that would like to give a "big" gift this year and if she would like to go "In" on it, ie: a table and chair set for the kids, or a playhouse, or even a large savings bond to start for each child, Let her know that you want them to be able to go to college someday and that You would love for her to go "in" on one with you. or even tell her of a great store that you saw some darling outfits in and maybe you and her could go to lunch and x-mas shopping together so you could show her how much you adore that store..hint hint.... this way her feelings are not hurt, she feels included and it is a win-win. Someties my mom still gives as much anyway but I also know that I wont have her around forever and it is still fun for the kids and that is what she wants. Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

I know how hard this can get. My mom goes way overboard as well. As for christmas, I changed what I was getting my kids because I knew that between the two sets of grandparents, there would be too much. So we get our kids one or two good presents then we get them the clothes, underwear, and such that they need(pjs). The other thing we have done is encourage our kids to donate to toy drives. This year the school was doing it and when the kids asked if they could bring toys I told them if they wanted to they had to pick from their own Christmas stash, and they actually liked that idea. Birthdays are also a tricky time. My sister actually started this but now my mom gives each kid a $10 gift card and a $50 check which we deposit into thier savings account. My sister finally told my mom that toys come and go, but a savings account benefits them in the long run. Now I tried to convince my mother in law to do the same but she refuses, out right, probably because it wasnt her idea...

Anyway, I know what you are going through. One thing about people who get offended often is that they choose to get offended. If you spend your time worring about what is going to offend them, you will never accomplish anything. Do what is best for your family. Donate some of the toys if you feel that is the right thing to do, and when she asks where the toys are tell her that she has blessed your family so much that your conscience was bothering you about all the unfortunate children that would have nothing so you decided to share. She may get mad, but you have eased the burden on your house, and made some other child very happy. (You can even choose names off an angel tree and let your kids pick for those kids and spend what you would have spent on your own kids on the less fortunate, we do that sometimes too). As for the toys in your kids rooms, limit them to one or two bins of toys, let them choose what they want to keep, and give the rest to the goodwill. We do this once a year, just before Christmas, so there is room for the new stuff, and we get rid of what they dont want anymore. Again, if your mom asks, tell her there isnt space for it all and that you had to make some hard decisions to make room for the new stuff. She really cant argue with that!

Good luck, I have been there too, you just have to remember to do what is best for your family and not worry about extended family and such...sorry about the novel!

1 mom found this helpful

Honesty is the best policy. It will be hard, but tell her the truth. It's wasting her money if the kids don't even play with the toys. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

Our grandma did the same for years but once the kids started asking for really expensive stuff she's backed off. I also mention all during the year how wonderful it is when she spends time with them, not mentioning gifts. When we chat I try to mention a charity that we've been able to help or friends that were in need that benefited from her generosity. It's taken awhile but once she realized that I don't intend to limit her spending but that the gifts move on she really has stopped buying so much and started getting things the kids really need instead. Another thing is that when the kids got old enough they started sending her lists of stuff they wanted. This year my 3 year old cut pictures from ads and pasted them to paper for her. I love that now I can depend on her to get the kids the latest trend in underwear, new shoes, a party dress, etc. that I would love to be able to buy but seem extravagant in our budget. My husband and I also adjusted our attitude to appreciate that at Christmas we are not overwhelmed with buying because we don't. Grandma already did.

1 mom found this helpful

My mom is terrible at this....one day last September I was tripping over toys everywhere. The kids don't like toys and won't play with them, they'd prefer to be outside playing. Anyway I gathered up every last toy. All of the 'storage' ones in the basement, the ones in their rooms, the ones in the living room and piled them all up in the family room - the biggest room in the house.

Then I invited mom over. I let her see just how many toys the kids had and gently explained that lessons, piano, gym, etc we're much more of a gift than all the plastic toys. (it was literally a pile waist high that went from wall to wall. Ugh!!) I donated nearly ALL the toys and kept a handful. Mom has been really, really good over the last year about not buying toys.


1 mom found this helpful

We have the same situation with two sets of grandparents. Christmas is ridiculous. We have spoken to them both, but they do the same thing every year. So my husband and I maybe buy one or two things and that's it, if at all. I love both sets of grandparents, they are so wonderful to the kids, that I have stepped back and let them do their thing even though they know how we feel about it. I am thrilled that my kids have both sets of grandparents growing up (I was not that lucky.) So it's okay, we make sure we purge the playroom (along with the kids) on a monthly basis and as a family take the toys to places that need them. Pick your battles and if the joy comes from the grandparent in this way, just work during the rest of year to make your kids appreciate their good fortune and love of so many.

1 mom found this helpful

I would tell your mom that as much as we appreciate all the wonderful gifts, that you think the best gift of all would be a contribution to each child's education fund. If it is true, you could point out how much she taught you to value education, blah blah blah. This might let her spend the money she wants to spend and keep the clutter down in your house. Good luck!

The joy of grandparents is gifting. So be honest and set ground rules for her. Explain you are scaling ack due the economy (or whatever) and that it is inappropriate for her to give more then one present or (set a limit like we have $50 total for both kids and Christmas and $25 each brithday...including shipping). If you are brave enough, also tell her you will be needing to scale back the house and bring the extra toys to the consignement store (find one that is cash forward instead of credit) and that moeny will be put into the college fund. And at that time, share the information about the college account you have set up (how much you have saved, what is the goal...how much a year you would like to seeput in etc.) then set that as the gift she should give beyond the limit you set on amount. My father-inlaw, for example is basically paying for our kid's education little by little over every holiday. Or, you can share that your kids are saving up for something really big and expensive. tell her you want it to be something they worked for and choose to save for. So that if she wanted to give $10 cash and then the rest in savings, the kids could decide to put that away for the big toy. Wait, just noticed your kids are young...maybe in a couple of years. so anyway, set the college fund stuff, the cost limit, and don't feel guilty about the selling the stuff off. Oh, and get the Five Love Languages for children. You will see her love language is gifts and understnad a litle more anout that and how to handle that..and see what your kids love language is too.

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