How to Handle Unwanted Gifts as a Montessori Parent
Well-meaning family can be hard to handle around the holidays. When you tell your mother-in-law over and over again that you do not want your toddler receiving any loud, flashy, plastic toys, you’d think you’d be in the clear. Some people just don’t listen.
Here is what you should do to help deter a massive pile of toys you don’t want in your home.
First, talk to the culprits.
These can include grandparents, aunties, friends and anyone else who goes into gift giving frenzies. Tell them exactly how you feel. For example, “Grandma, I appreciate the love you are trying to show Tommy, but we are not accepting these types of gifts this year. If you wish to buy him something, you can choose one or two items from this list but nothing more.”
Be 100% open and honest.
I always feel it is best to be 100% open about these types of family matters, as not to confuse anyone and to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Suggest time not toys.
If they still insist on buying gifts, maybe you can suggest experiences and not materials. For instance, “If you feel you must spend more money on Tommy this year, he has been talking about going to the zoo for the past month. He would love it if you bought tickets and took him to the zoo, especially because he would get to spend extra time with you.”
Teach your child about giving.
If your family member still does not listen and ends up buying every flashy toy in sight, don’t fret. You can teach your child compassion, empathy and kindness by donating some of these toys to a family in need. This may be hard to confess to the gift giver, but once you tell them of your donations, I have a feeling they won’t be over buying next Christmas.