How to Convince Your Child to Look at Holiday Toy Catalogs in a Truly Productive Way

Holidays are approaching, which means that if you have children and a mailbox, the latter is updated daily with catalogs of toys and children’s clothing. Watching your kids’ unbridled enthusiasm as they flip through the pages can generate nostalgic forgiveness for this rush of direct marketing, but holiday catalogs like these, if left unregulated in a home filled with young children, can also cause problems. (Have you ever tried to get your toddler ready for school when he decided to relax in his Pull-up and “read” everything there is to know about the Monster Jam Grave Digger RC car?)

Their glossy pages can evoke joy – or guide Bay Blade the right thoughts into the delicate emotional ecosystem of your home, doing more harm than good. Here are some tips on how to make these harbingers of Christmas fun work for you, not against you.

First, hide them

The first rule of holiday catalogs is: Don’t leave your holiday catalogs idle. While this might seem like a festive way to entertain Christmas joy (I’ll just leave them on the coffee table so they can browse them anytime!), If there is only one of the preferred directories, but a few kids, follow-up power struggles about what time one of the siblings had to watch this, and which of them tore the page of the Barbie Dream House, can turn into a very unpleasant argument. In addition to catalog territory battles, things are endlessly distracting. It’s great when you’re making dinner and need to keep the kids busy, but good luck having a kid grab one while you try to get to the school bus. This brings me to my next point …

Set a specific time to watch them

Does setting a specific time for kids to browse holiday toy catalogs sound like micromanagement and the Grinchy? Yes. Am I still going to do this? Also yes. In my home, giving kids complete freedom to consume a catalog creates too many distractions and little hassles, so I’ve only learned to kick them out when my kids have nothing to do and nowhere to be. Because you know what’s worse than restricting directory access? Rush an agitated 6-year-old boy because he needs to go basketball in five minutes.

Set a limit on the number of items per page

The first time my son got his hands on the Target holiday catalog and was told to circle what he wanted, it was like the Crayola massacre. On some pages, each element has been circled – all with more intent and urgency. There was no way to say what he really wanted (probably none of this, but I digress). While this rule will vary by age, set a limit for items your child can circle on a page (1-2), or the total for the entire catalog (10). They will be more selective in their choice, getting rid of some guesswork on your part.

Let them know they won’t get everything they want.

When the children first get their hands on the catalog, it’s time to “talk”. Let them know even Santa has a budget. He may be magical, but he also supplies toys for every child in the world and will not fulfill all of their toy desires. After their first crazy liberal spin, ask your kids to do a second pass to clarify their requests and cross out the “X” things that are not at the top of their lists.

Use them to choose toys for the less fortunate.

After they have studied and compiled their own lists, use the catalogs as tools to reach out to others in your children’s minds and hearts this holiday season. Consider becoming a “ holiday hero ” or fulfilling one simple wish to help brighten up the lives of children in foster care. By doing good together , you can sponsor a child or family for the holidays. Or contact a religious organization in your city; they may have special requests from local children. Ask the children to choose, package, and deliver gifts to make the holiday brighter for others. Then get all the directories out of sight so that the carefully curated list isn’t meaningless the next time you read it.


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