Whether it is from advertising or simple interest, kids will ask for all sorts of things for Christmas (and birthday) gifts.
There may be many reasons to decide against a particular item for you child (price, values, practicality, appropriateness, and so on) but one I have been reminded of this week is safety.
Considering safety of a gift request
This week, a mother contacted us about not wanting mention of a mermaid tail in her daughters’ Love Santa letter as she had decided it was not appropriate for her daughters.
I know very little about mermaid tails so I am not saying they are or are not dangerous.
But the point is valid.
If you don’t think your child’s gift request is safe or appropriate, then that is your decision and the child should not get that gift.
Choosing what is safe
At one level, safety depends on the specific child. That is, the child’s age, personality and physical abilities will impact on what is suitable for that child, and that takes someone who knows the child to make that decision.
Certain things are clearly not safe and thus easy to decide against – like small Lego pieces for a baby or guns for any child, for example.
Whereas other things may be less clear. So to decide if something is safe enough to give to your child (or the child in your life), here are some suggestions:
- do some research online – if you know little about the item, it is hard to judge it so find out what it is, what’s it made of and so on.
- look at the age group it is suggested for
- find out what other people think of the item and what experiences they have had with it – ask parents you know but also look for some online reviews. Even if you disagree with a review, it may give you some questions to ask or information about the item’s features.
- think about whether you would have used and enjoyed it when you were that age – this can help you view your child as a person rather than as your ‘baby’ who needs to be protected
- If you can, go and touch and try the item. Does it feel sturdy or likely to fall apart? Will it put the child high above the ground or travelling fast? Does the packaging and instructions promote dangerous activities?
Saying no to the child
If you decide a gift is not safe, what do you tell the child?
I think it helps if you don’t promise anything so you don’t have to back track 🙂
Beyond that, I tell my children that I don’t like a potential gift and give them a reason. I may simplify it to suit their knowledge, but I let them know to maintain their trust and get them thinking . It also means that I have already set the expectation that I won’t get it later nor allow them to buy it themselves a few months later.
How do you tell your children you have decided against them having something they would like?
Love Santa letters
Just to compete the above story about mermaid tails…
Santa understands safety and works hard to never give children toys or gifts that are not safe. And when Santa writes to children he never promises any particular gift will be given because he knows things may change between writing the letter and Christmas Eve.
As each Love Santa letter is individually adjusted, it was not difficult to remove any mention of the mermaid tails for the girls mentioned above, keeping everyone happy and safe.