Christmas is a magical time for children, the sparkle, wrapping paper and shining baubles all add to the exciting build up to the big day.
If this is your child’s ‘first Christmas’ you might have a renewed sense of excitement about the forthcoming celebrations even though your baby has no idea what is going on.
With food and fuel bills on the increase, we sometimes end up spending more than we can afford and Christmas can be a very expensive time.
Recent findings show that too many toys can possibly hinder child development and creativity.
Also, having too many toys can affect the child’s attention span and leave them giving up on an item quickly.
Here are my reasons why you should spend less on your children and my top tips for saving money.
Less is more - Strick and Shubert did an experiment in a nursery setting and removed all the toys.
There was a short period of boredom and then the children started to use their surroundings to invent games and use their imagination much more than usual.
Less to tidy- we have all been to houses (mine included) where it feels like toys have taken over and tidying them away takes forever.
Toy rotation – packing away half the toys and rotating them every 6 months, this limits the amount of toys available, and chances are they won’t miss them.
Less sibling rivalry - with fewer toys children get along better, have you ever noticed this when children play outside with one, or no toys?
Valuing –children learn to look after, and value, their toys if there are fewer of them.
With too many, there is always a replacement when one gets broken.
Expectations - children who always get too many presents will expect lots.
Set a good example by not buying excessively, looking after your possessions and saving up for things that you really want.
Children follow our examples, good and bad.
Top Tips for Spending Less
lSell your children’s nearly new toys and clothes in the run up to Christmas. Use Ebay or Gumtree or keep it local and support Calderdale NCT, who have a Nearly New Sale at North Bridge Leisure Centre tomorrow (Saturday), 3pm – 4.30pm
lBuy second hand, pre-loved items - there is less packaging, so more environmentally friendly and children under a certain age will not even notice.
lWrap up a cardboard box! How many times have you seen, or heard, that a child has spent hours playing with the box a toy has come in? Google ‘101 things to do with a cardboard box’ and get some low cost ideas.
lWait for the sales, you’ll get twice as much for your money
lAsk for vouchers for something useful, like swimming lessons
lGet relatives to buy one gift and contribute to a savings account
lAsk for the ‘gift of time’ maybe a grandparent or friend could gift a visit to the park once a week or some 1-1 playing time, this will also give you some child-free time
lHave 20 minutes ‘special time’ each day with your child where you have no interruptions and play whatever they want to, this helps bonding and they will look forward to the 1-1 individual time
lAnd… lastly, just don’t buy any gifts. Your family and friends will do that. And if you wish, take back unwanted presents and keep the gift voucher for future use!
Andrea Wallman, supporting local people on their parenting journey. www.thebeststart.co.uk or 07711 964658.