Since I announced that I became a parent, I’ve received a number of requests to write about my parenting philosophy. The subject requests have run the gamut: How has parenting changed my life? What books do I recommend for new parents? How am I handling the baby clutter? What am I teaching my son about simplicity?
Truth be told, I’m probably not the best person to write about parenting. I don’t think three months of having a child qualifies me as an expert. And, as far as I can tell, my son is not the average baby experience — he rarely cries, he usually sleeps through the night, and he can focus on tasks for 30 to 45 minutes at a time without getting fussy. My husband and I joke that we have an old man trapped in an infant’s body.
One thing I am quickly becoming an expert on, however, is how to talk to family members about gifts for our son. The following are tips I’ve already mastered for hopefully curbing an influx of kid-related clutter at the holidays:
- Make a wishlist on Amazon of things your child actually needs. Most of us are not made of money (at least I’m not), and getting useful gifts can be a big financial help. New shoes, diapers, whatever it is you need can most likely be added to your wishlist.
- E-mail a wishlist of experience gifts your child will enjoy with the potential gift giver. Zoo memberships, passes to a children’s museum, and movie theater gift cards are all opportunities for grandparents (or aunts or uncles or friends) to spend time with your child. Plus, they take up zero space in your home!
- Photocopy your child’s letter to Santa Claus before mailing it. This way, if Santa doesn’t get everything on the list, you can let other people know what toys your child really wants.
- Start getting comfortable with the one-in-one-out rule. After the holidays, work with your child to get his or her collection of toys down to a reasonable size. If a new toy doesn’t meet his fancy, ask him to donate it to charity. If an old toy is ready to be retired, help her take a picture of it before purging it from the collection.
Remember, too, that when people get gifts for your child it’s because they love and appreciate him or her. Don’t deny the gift-giving process, but feel comfortable guiding it. And, be willing to respect other people’s wishes when giving gifts to their children. Happy holidays!