The countdown to Christmas is on! Wondering how to tell the grandparents, the chronic spoilers of children and bringers of multiple gifts, not to overdo it this year? It’s not always an easy conversation to have with your parents or in-laws, but as you watch the mountain of toys growing, remind yourself: it’s worth it to put a stop to the toy overwhelm!
Chances are if you are reading this post, your parents or in-laws aren’t the types who simply ask what the kids really want for Christmas. If they are, lucky you (go treat yourself to a glass of wine or a latte because that’s time better spent). If not, read on and hopefully you will find a tip or two that will work for you!
How to Tactfully Tell the Grandparents What NOT to Give
#1: Set the Rules — Give yourself permission to ban certain types of toys altogether. Let me suggest a category or two: toys that 1) make excessive noise, 2) require a ridiculous amount of battery power, 3) are gooey or sticky, and 4) are just plain annoying. Remind the grandparents that those are the types of toys that like to visit THEIR house permanently.
#2: Start the ‘Toy In, Toy Out’ Tradition — Set a maximum safe toy capacity limit. For example, the stuffy collection must fit into this designated toy box. If the stuffy collection has reached maximum capacity, tell both the children and grandparents that for every stuffy that comes into the house, an equal (or greater) amount must leave (hopefully that will break them of the habit of attaching a decorative stuffy to every gift).
#3: Suggest Collections or Sets — Start collections or toy sets that grandparents can add to so at least the new additions can live with their fellow toy mates (and most sets tend to have small pieces of varying price ranges). Keep an updated list of the missing pieces that your kids would love to add to their collection to share with grandparents who may be nervous about buying duplicates.
#4: Ask for Consumables — Tell the grandparents how much Little Suzy loves to make beautiful pieces of art to give to the grandparents. Suggest buying art supplies (paper, stickers, glitter glue, Popsicle sticks, etc.) and maybe even an how-to book or craft kit. It’s a win-win-win because the kids get something they will enjoy, the grandparents get beautiful works of art and you get toys that magically disappear.
#5: Be Honest About What Matters the Most — Remind the grandparents that no matter how anticipated, all toys are quickly forgotten and what the kids value the most is time spent with them. If they are far away, suggest a gift of a visit or a meet-you-in-the-middle arrangement and if they are nearby, suggest a special grandparent outing or a sleepover weekend.