Tuesday, August 6, 2013

No Toys for You!

New parents seeking advice from me will get a variety of answers, but none will be as helpful as this:


Seriously. I am not even kidding. Do not buy toys for your children, and do not allow them to be given toys. It's in everyone's best interest, honestly, but mostly the parents. Kids won't know if they have toys or not. However, parents will be keenly aware of the presence of toys in their lives.

Those cute toys given to babies before they're old enough to even figure out that their mother has face? Those toys that purr and beep and sing? Those toys are not designed to engage a child's imagination. No, no, no. Those toys are designed with insidious little sound waves that activate a slow, but sure, shut down of the parent's brain, thus making them immune to saying no to other toys down the road. Seriously, have you ever seen a baby really look at those fish aquarium thingys that we hang in cribs?  It's always parents and grandparents that are staring googly eyed at them. The adults don't even notice that they're the only ones drooling. The baby is probably thinking, "What is the deal? Those fish aren't even real."

I am warning you; say yes to toys early in a child's life and you are doomed.  Soon you won't remember what day of the week it is, let alone how many toys your child owns.

Once you say yes to toys, young parents, you are saying yes to relentless racket, needing a constant supply of single, double, and triple 'A' batteries, and probably an equal number of 'D's. Don't do it, I am begging you.

Just imagine going to look at your sleeping child (you know, so you can remember that you DO love them), and just as you are nearing their bed you step on plastic Baby Waby, who begins gurgling and crying, which triggers your real child gurgling and crying. Who wants that?

Perhaps you step on a Lego, which lodges itself half inch into the arch of your foot, and your innocent child gets a hard lesson in cursing. It's involuntary when you step on a Lego. Even if you never even knew a curse word, the minute your tender flesh comes into contact with the sharp corner of a Lego, it's game on. Adam and Eve had a fruit, we have Legos. Now, if that's your idea of fun, bring on the toys. If not, you know what to do.

 Don't buy toys, or you'll find yourself on your way to a favorite secluded spot, say in the laundry room, or the bathtub under the cover of the shower curtain, feeling free to enjoy a moment alone with some chocolate. Just as you're ready to sink your teeth into your sugary escape, you step on the noisiest toy in the house.  Why is the toy in your hiding spot?  It's simple, really. The toy had been banished because of it's horrible sounds, and this was the best you could do for a hiding spot.  Now not only do the children know where the toy is, they know where YOU are.  They also know you consumed candy because there is a string of caramel hanging from your chin. Now everyone is crying, but none harder than you.  All because of a toy.

Pick any scene, any toy, and know that the end result is you regretting the decision to buy toys more than I regretted buying a turtle.

I also believe buying toys is useless because children don't even play with toys.  They just scatter them about the floor, or leave them under the covers at the foot of their parents beds, or use them to clog toilets and drains. Children use toys to cover carpeted areas and to booby trap their rooms. No, I don't believe children play with toys. What they do play with, however, are toilet plungers, coat hangers, card board boxes and whisks. Children play with bedsheets, pantyhose, and toothpaste, dental floss, shoelaces (from shoes that are STILL being used), gum wrappers, aluminum foil, and plastic bottles. 

So, heed the advice of veteran mother. When your children look at you, their eyes wide and wanting, and ask for a toy, sternly reply, "No toys for you!"  just like the soup dude from Seinfeld


  1. Oh my gosh! All my kids play with these days are the bedsheets! And honestly... I have actually stopped buying them toys. Great minds, Kara... great minds.

  2. Kara,

    That's funny! It's true that so many toys just lay there uselessly, and our kids usually have way too much stuff, huh?

    Re your comment on my post, "When You're at an Impasse in a Decision," I agree. Rarely is there an issue that we can't agree on, or resolve. And striving for harmony and open communication is key too, huh?

    Thanks for jumping in here,
    Jennifer Dougan

  3. Hi Kara,

    Thanks for stopping by my post "The Best Parenting Advice this Week." Not to ignore name-calling and rude sibling behavior? I agree. Hmm! And your wisdom in seeing patterns in others that you want to avoid? Yes, I get that too. Have you ever seen Lisa Whelchel's nail and fence post parenting example from her book Creative Correction? Phenomenal.

    Jennifer Dougan