Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

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obgynkenobi
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Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am

Hello all,
So now that the holidays are over my husband and I had some time to reflect on things. We are currently expecting a baby and recently traveled back to his parents house for christmas. While we were there, we witnessed his parents buying literally hundreds of dollars of toys for their grandson (our nephew). It was absurd, to the point where the kid didn't even care about his presents because he was so over-saturated with them.
We are planning to sit down with his parents and talk to them about how we DO NOT want them to spend so much money on toys for our kid. We live in a small place and having so much stuff just does not align with our values.

What suggestions would you have for us as far as what they can spend their money on instead of toys? I have thought about museum subscriptions, etc. but also think that a year contribution to a college fund (uhh, don't know much about these... yet) would be a good idea?

Thanks for any and all suggestions in advance!

livesoft
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by livesoft » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:56 am

Get all the free toys from the nephew and pass them on to your child.
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BanquetBeer
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by BanquetBeer » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:59 am

Giving toys on some level is a selfish event. Grandparents always want to simply buy something and have the kid value it and think about ‘how awesome that grandparent is for getting me this’

What I have seen is if you have more than 5 toys at your house - the important thing is time spent together. However that takes a lot more effort than typing in a credit card number.

Depending on the age of the kid, if you want a gift from a grand parent like that to associate the two the grand parent should take the kid the first time (or more).

We have enjoyed tumbling totts, play zones, gymnastics, & zoo. Children’s museum can be fun but high risk of getting sick. Movies are also a good date.

As with all those people in their 30s touting travel say - possessions done make you as happy as experiences.

lernd
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by lernd » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:00 am

Spend money on:

*experiences - tickets to local children's museum or other kids' events (disney on ice or whatever).
*books - they don't take up a lot of space and have more benefit than another random toy that won't be used (and whose parts will be lost)

Boulder92
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Boulder92 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:15 am

Good suggestions above. I would add STEM toys (ex.magnetiles, monthly science boxes - kids love getting mail), art supplies, etc when your kids are older.
I would also mention maybe you should pick your battles. Grandparents that I speak with are tired of sit down discussions in which their kids tell them what to do. I have young kids and most of these type of discussions led to the behavior worsening. This may be their love language (it hurts to type that). Also, in a short time half your friends will be taking care of their parents and you might be just grateful to have healthy ones if you do. You could consider rolling with it and returning and giving away toys regularly, there are worse things/situations....

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obgynkenobi
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:19 am

Boulder92 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:15 am
Good suggestions above. I would add STEM toys (ex.magnetiles, monthly science boxes - kids love getting mail), art supplies, etc when your kids are older.
I would also mention maybe you should pick your battles. Grandparents that I speak with are tired of sit down discussions in which their kids tell them what to do. I have young kids and most of these type of discussions led to the behavior worsening. This may be their love language (it hurts to type that). Also in a short time half your friends will be taking care of their parents and you might be just grateful to have healthy ones if you do. You could consider rolling with it and returning and giving away toys regularly, there are worse things/situations....
Totally agree with this. It definitely IS their love language and this is what they like to spend their money on. I don't really want to police their behaviors but our living quarters literally cannot handle that many toys! I also personally would rather they spend half the money on toys (which believe me, would still be probably 500 dollars worth of toys.. plenty of money for a few sets of magnatiles!), and maybe the rest on something that would be useful and beneficial. I'm not sure the rules around a 529 but I had also thought about opening some sort of college fund and asking them to put in a yearly contribution instead of buying yet another batman product.

Nowizard
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Nowizard » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:33 am

Picking battles goes both ways. If you live close by your parents, simply let them bring whatever they want when they visit but take any toys you don't want around back to their house. After all, the child will be visiting in the home of grandparents as well and toys will be needed there. As an alternative, donate any unwanted toys left to needy children, mentioning it if parents ask where they are on subsequent visits. A key is to interact with your child and parents. In other words, don't remove a favorite of your child to punish your parents and child for violating your set boundaries. You might remember, particularly with a first child, that your parents have been there previously and may see developments before you do that reflect a child's interests and needs. Setting boundaries is important, but a suggestion would be to bring up the general topic of excitement prior to the child's birth about the changes, some of the anticipated positives and advice prospective grandparents might give, followed by injecting your boundary comments.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:35 am

My in laws (mostly MIL) were like this when my kids were young. They seemed to feel that they absolutely could not come into the presence of one of my kids without handing them some cheap, plastic, Wal Mart toy.

Things we did include not opening the package and returning it to Wal Mart, if in their home, leave all of these presents at their home, tell them to stop bringing stuff. The returns were probably the most successful. With all the "junk" they bought that we left at their house, they'd make a special trip (we live 12 miles away) and arrive unannounced with the bag of toys plus of course, since there was another contact, yet another toy. Much of the bag of toys would be put into the recycling barrel if they were pure plastic.

We never found a way to win this game. Even when they arrived with a duplicate toy.....because they seemed to have bought every toy Wal Mart sells, they didn't "get it".
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AAA
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by AAA » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:52 am

Some grandparents think it's their job to spoil their grandkids. This not only involves buying them toys you may not want but also plying them with excessive sweets you may not want them to have. I don't have any easy answer as it depends a lot on the particular personalities involved and I was not very successful in a similar situation.

I guess you can try explaining to them that a small living space is not conducive to having a lot of toys and see how they react. I'm not sure about suggesting a college fund as an alternative - the toys are something concrete that they can see the grandkid playing with whereas the fund is just a number on a statement which the child will be unaware of. So something like membership in a museum, park, kid's fun place, etc. might be better as they can participate with them. Of course, the college fund would be nice in addition, but that idea might have to originate with them.

alfaspider
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by alfaspider » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:58 am

I can sympathize.

Everyone likes buying children's toys. They are fun to buy. But nobody thinks of the cleanup on the back end. We've tried to be diplomatic, and have successfully pushed back on larger toys that we truly do not have room for and particularly messy toys (vetoed a sand box), but have found it impossible to stop the constant parade of plastic. Best you can do is have a heart to heart with the grandparents and hope they listen (at least a little bit). Sometimes it helps to suggest that the toys stay at Grandparents house (if they are local) so the kids will have something to play with there. But the problem we've had is they come from all directions- dozens of friends, family members, and acquaintances will want to bring toys. One thing you can also do is specify "no gifts" for birthday parties. Christmas is a bit tougher on that front.

nguy44
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by nguy44 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:02 am

lernd wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:00 am
Spend money on:

*experiences - tickets to local children's museum or other kids' events (disney on ice or whatever).
*books - they don't take up a lot of space and have more benefit than another random toy that won't be used (and whose parts will be lost)
I agree. This is what we have done for our grandchild, grand nieces/nephews. There are many "experiences" places you can easily get gifts cards or tickets for. The "fancier" movie theaters, bowling alley/arcades, amusement parks, play centers, etc. - you can give to a different place and not repeat yourself.

In addition, as was also mentioned, donating to any college savings plans.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by JoeRetire » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:12 am

obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am
We are planning to sit down with his parents and talk to them about how we DO NOT want them to spend so much money on toys for our kid. We live in a small place and having so much stuff just does not align with our values.

What suggestions would you have for us as far as what they can spend their money on instead of toys? I have thought about museum subscriptions, etc. but also think that a year contribution to a college fund (uhh, don't know much about these... yet) would be a good idea?
Good ideas. But remember, gift giving is about enjoyment for the grandparents too.

It makes a lot of sense for you to emphasize that you have a small place, and that you don't have enough room for a lot of stuff. Hopefully that prompts his parents to ask for suggestions.

My wife and I babysat our grandchildren at our house from a few moths old every Thursday night and Friday until they were old enough for school. We took them to the library, museums, trampoline parks, etc, etc. Having them with us every week made it easier for us to purchase gifts that they could use and play with at our house and not have to clutter up their parents house. Lots of books, clothes, hats, etc.

For playthings, we always emphasized non-electronic toys and activities. Blocks, board games, action figures, dolls, etc. Living in a beachfront community, we also go them outdoor and water toys, beach chairs, trikes and bikes, etc.

And we started 529 accounts for each of them and contribute regularly. We also treated the entire family to vacations and trips. We are fortunate enough financially to be able to afford whatever we chose to do.

He knows his parents. And he may have a good sense regarding what kind of conversation will work with them. Just remember, grandparents love to see their grandkids happy and having fun. Make sure you are grateful, thank them often, and find time for them to spend with their grandchildren.
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Stinky » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:18 am

We are grandparents. And our ability/desire to give gifts to grandchildren exceeds the ability of the grandchildren (and their parents) to handle the tangible gifts like toys or clothing.

We’ve done two things to “top up” what we give to our grandchildren. First, we generously fund 529 accounts for each grandkid. Second, to the extent that our “budget” for each birthday or Christmas is in excess of the tangible gifts that we buy, we give the excess cash to the parents to be used for the benefit of the child.

This works well for us.
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:21 am

This is all overlaid with emotions and obligations.
You have your side, they have theirs. Now you would think that the simple thing is to tell grandparents how you feel. Maybe agree on one or two toys and that is that. But, of course, it won't happen that way. Why? because you would probably will not stand your ground on the decision made.
How strange is it that one cannot find the strength to not accept gifts beyond that which was agreed. Usually life is an, "I want" situation. This is an, "I don't want".
There is too much emotional baggage in families to go this route.
In our family we have eclipsed that. No gifts, given or expected. There was some disagreement and hurt feelings the first year. Now, nothing. It is a done deal.
But you have to be strong.

Will you?

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by soundwave » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:25 am

Something parents of older children might propose to grandparents:

Now that my grandchildren are in elementary school, my annual "extra" gift to them is to fund one week of summer day camp. There are multiple options for every interest: Cooking camp, Harry Potter camp, computer camp (even coding camp!), adventure camp, etc. At this point, I've budgeted approximately $500 per child. The parents & children choose the camp each year & everyone has loved it!

Since these camps usually start at age 5, last year I took my 3 year old granddaughter out for a single day of "camp". We went to the Children's Museum, picnic at the park (complete with playground time) and pottery painting. I took photos & presented her with her own 5x7 Summer Day Camp photo compilation a few days later so she could remember her special camp.

As the children reach middle school age, I have no problem upping the cost of each camp to include 5 days & nights away from home. When my son was this age, he attended a 5 day art camp in a fantastic small mountain town and had an amazing experience!
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by mmmodem » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:33 am

We have 529 accounts setup for each of the kids. We send the link on party invites for others to contribute to in lieu of gifts. Most people ignore us and still bring gifts but they also contribute to the 529. I can only hope the toy is lower in scope and cost since they contributed to the 529 as well.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by chevca » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:37 am

So, this was Christmas and you want to tell your in-laws what kind of Christmas presents they should buy your soon to be child??

If this was a year long or all the time thing, you would have a gripe. Leave Christmas alone, IMO.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by dukeblue219 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:38 am

Very good suggestions so far. We have a couple little ones and have really talked up wooden toys, books, and puzzles to the grandparents. Our birthday parties are (for now) "no need for presents" as well. We still have too much junk but it cuts down the worst offenders, which are the $10 plastic crap that blinks and plays music. Two $30 Melissa and Doug wooden toys can give a lot more pleasure and creativity to a child than ten $8 race cars with "realistic" sounds.

When we give gifts to toddlers we try for magazine subscriptions, monthly science kits by mail, zoo memberships, etc.

I can't give much advise on how to diplomatically tell your parents to cut out the junk, but at least you can hint that they have so many toys that experiences would be more appreciated. Add ons for existing toy sets can also work - ask for a new Brio/Thomas train or new play food for the pretend kitchen or new furniture for the playhouse.

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obgynkenobi
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:57 am

chevca wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:37 am
So, this was Christmas and you want to tell your in-laws what kind of Christmas presents they should buy your soon to be child??

If this was a year long or all the time thing, you would have a gripe. Leave Christmas alone, IMO.
It is an all year round thing, actually. I was just using Christmas as an example. Thank you for your suggestion.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Quirkz » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:58 am

Yes, if you open a 529 they ought to be able to contribute to it. We've gently suggested to both our parents that if they want to "give extra" that's a good place to put it.

Also, redirecting towards things that aren't "stuff" may be good. It's hard to plan out with an impending newborn, but eventually there will be lots of activities to choose from.

It might also help to encourage consumables. Markers and coloring books are fun for a while, get used up, and then get thrown away. Craft kits, etc., fall in the same category.

We've also just straight-up said things like, "Hey, we don't need more stuff, but if you want to help with the plane tickets it'd make it easier to visit." They're contributing, but it's for the experience rather than piles of junk.

Finally, just be prepared to prune. Kid gets 10 things, keep the top 2-3 that they really seem to enjoy, and donate the rest.

If all else fails you can always tell them, "If you're going to give us so much stuff, you have to pay for the storage unit where we keep it all." :P

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obgynkenobi
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:00 am

Thanks everyone for the suggestions!!! Lots of good stuff on here, really appreciate it!!

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by winterfan » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:08 am

I don't have an answer. My preference is cash or gift cards, but that's not really fun to give. One relative always gives gift certificates to the ice cream shop. We love those! I'm the opposite as some of you though, no experiences please. We've received passes, tickets, etc. in the past and it feels like such an obligation. Kids don't necessarily want to go to the event and as a parent, I don't really want to carve out time on a weekend either. Of course then, you have the gift giver asking about it, so I feel like we have to go. No thanks!

I just accept gifts graciously. If asked, I generally ask for smaller things or things that would be appreciated.

I like the day camp idea above though.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by aristotelian » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:16 am

We face this issue as well. Our approach was to simply throw stuff in the garbage as soon as the kid is done with it.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Watty » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:19 am

obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am
What suggestions would you have for us as far as what they can spend their money on instead of toys?
Grandparent here.

Excessive clothing gifts may be even worse than toys.

Trying not to be sexist but especially if you have a baby girl the grandmothers may see lots of cute but often impractical things to try to dress up the baby in. Especially with a newborn a lot of the clothing will only fit for a few months.

When we had our first grandchild it was the first grandchild on both sides of their family so there were lots of presents which overwhelmed them with clothing. It also made it difficult for them to enjoy buying some of the baby clothing themselves.

It did not take long for them to tell everyone that they they did not need or want anymore clothing as gifts. My wife will still occasionally buy some clothing for the grandkids but it is at a manageable level.

When there are two sets of grandparents involved there can also be issues with treating them as equally as possible so if you set a rule like that be sure to apply it equally.
obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am
What suggestions would you have for us as far as what they can spend their money on instead of toys? I have thought about museum subscriptions, etc. but also think that a year contribution to a college fund (uhh, don't know much about these... yet) would be a good idea?
Buying toys and clothing for grandkids can be fun so don't try to cut it off altogether. You might explain the situation to the grandparents and ask them to limit the giving to a couple of items.

This last Christmas one of our grandkids was just a bit over one year old and too young to appreciate any gifts so one of the things on her "Christmas List" was diapers in a specific size.

The museum/zoo/aquarium/garden subscriptions can work and we have given them but be sure that it is something that you will actually use. When my son was a kid my parents gave us a zoo membership for Christmas for at least ten years and that worked out well since it is was not something we would have bought ourselves. We used it too and with a membership like that is nice that you can drop by the zoo for two hours when you have some time. If you were paying admission you would need to stay most of the day to make it worth the cost.

I hate that they discontinued selling paper saving bonds since those were something appropriate that you could give and have something physical to give. Somehow to me giving the same $25 or $50 check for a college fund seems cheap and we are not planning on paying large amounts for our grandkids college. I don't have a good answer for that.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:32 am

OP, since this is your first kid I understand your situation. This is a problem outside just grandparents in our family, since we both have big families: lots of uncles/aunts in addition to all 4 grandparents and some great-grandparents still being around. (We've got 3 kiddos so far.) Off the bat, I'll say that "sitting down" your parents to have a discussion probably won't yield much fruit. Guess what? They'll probably give your kid a second glass of chocolate milk when they go stay the night at grandma's. Your job as the parent is to raise a grateful, humble child, regardless of the situation around them. Of course that's easier said than done, as parents farther along than we are will attest to, but don't try too hard to exert yourself and control this situation. (I once told one of the grandparents to pls just stop buying toys and contribute to a "college fund", didn't even specify a kind, to which the grandparent replied, "oh stop worrying, that part is taken care of for all the kids. We're still buying toys." #futile :shock: )

Back to our situation: since our religion doesn't see Christmas as a day but a season, we consciously decided with our first (and declared to the family) that we would only let her open one present a day for the 12 days of Christmas. We didn't say "don't buy presents", but "don't expect your present to be the one opened first." This at least lets each present sink in for a day, and we'll usually have the kiddos make a video for (or FaceTime, ideally) the gift-giving couple. It was a little awkward the first year because it means our kiddos only get to open one (maybe two, since it's technically baby Jesus's birthday) presents ON Christmas Day, when their cousins are ripping through mounds of boxes and envelopes, but they've already become accustomed to this practice now and they look forward to it.

Oh, and my wife is fantastic at giving suggestions for gifts. Lots of people in our family ask what our kids might want, and my wife (whose love language is also gift-giving) is prepared. Others' suggestions of creative/"STEM" toys and tons of books are also good ideas. I wouldn't frown upon someone sending a list of 3-5 items they might like their child to be given. Some people will listen, some won't, but especially if asked it helps to have a little list.

Congrats on the upcoming baby! :D
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by dukeblue219 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:34 am

There's also an opportunity in here to teach the child about giving to others. "You have so many toys, but some boys and girls don't have much. Would you like to give some to them?" works surprisingly well. Then drop a couple of new-in-box toys at your charity of choice (or Toys For Tots box etc).

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by ddurrett896 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:42 am

obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am
What suggestions would you have for us as far as what they can spend their money on instead of toys? I have thought about museum subscriptions, etc. but also think that a year contribution to a college fund (uhh, don't know much about these... yet) would be a good idea?
Kids like toys, grandparents spoil kids, toys are the hit!

We offer suggestions like water park seasons passes and such, but when we become overloaded with toys, we bring the access to the grandparents house. Not only does it clear us out, but it also gets the kids even more excited to go to the grandparents and play.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Sic Vis Pacem » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:48 am

We faced this same issue with both my parents and in-laws. We live in a downtown condo with limited space, so the deluge of toys for our son was a little overwhelming. Our families all live in the suburbs with large yards and, more importantly, large basements. I have a five year old nephew and my brother is not in the same financial situation we are in. My parents have purchased many a toy for my nephew and its been a great experience for all involved. So I think they had the same expectation with us. For my in-laws, we have the first grandchild, and they could not wait to spoil him.

We framed the conversation with both sets of parents around conservation/the environment. We asked for less toys, but if they do want to give toys, we prefer they be used, handmade, or recyclable. No hard and fast "rules," as we want to honor their wishes and expectations around being grandparents too. We also emphasized that we would prefer experiences (Zoo pass, museum pass, etc). If not that, we did let them know we have 529 plans and they are welcome to use that option if they so choose. Both parents know we place a high premium on education, so that was an easy conversation.

It went over pretty well. Slightly uncomfortable, but these things are. We still get toys (even new plastic ones), but the amount has significant decreased.

Good luck.
Last edited by Sic Vis Pacem on Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:57 am

AAA wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:52 am
Some grandparents think it's their job to spoil their grandkids. This not only involves buying them toys you may not want but also plying them with excessive sweets you may not want them to have. I don't have any easy answer as it depends a lot on the particular personalities involved and I was not very successful in a similar situation.

I guess you can try explaining to them that a small living space is not conducive to having a lot of toys and see how they react. I'm not sure about suggesting a college fund as an alternative - the toys are something concrete that they can see the grandkid playing with whereas the fund is just a number on a statement which the child will be unaware of. So something like membership in a museum, park, kid's fun place, etc. might be better as they can participate with them. Of course, the college fund would be nice in addition, but that idea might have to originate with them.
I think college fund for grandchildren can work well if grandparents are willing. My nephew knew my parents funded about 1/3 of his education at a well regarded private college. Nephew would not have had the funds for the school without my parents contribution and nephew knew that.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:08 am

Watty wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:19 am

I hate that they discontinued selling paper saving bonds since those were something appropriate that you could give and have something physical to give. Somehow to me giving the same $25 or $50 check for a college fund seems cheap and we are not planning on paying large amounts for our grandkids college. I don't have a good answer for that.
How about silver eagles? Not quite a boglehead investment but fun for kids. When they are old enough you can teach them how to lookup the value of them. My wife still has a 3 or 4 of them given to her as a kid.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by bayview » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:18 am

I’m a grandparent of one little guy. I had hung on to my kids’ favorite toys, especially their Brio sets. I watched which ones my daughter used with my grandson and used that as a guide.

I would suggest telling grandparents cheerfully but firmly that you want your kids to be less focused on “stuff”, and that therefore you will immediately give away gifts that you feel aren’t appropriate to local day cares etc. Presumably the grandparents are Boomers like us, and they might remember their own days of fighting off toy guns or Barbies or whatever irritated them back in the day.
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am

This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:31 am

Watty wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:19 am
I hate that they discontinued selling paper saving bonds since those were something appropriate that you could give and have something physical to give. Somehow to me giving the same $25 or $50 check for a college fund seems cheap and we are not planning on paying large amounts for our grandkids college. I don't have a good answer for that.
You can print out a certificate from treasurydirect and print the kid's name and bond amount on it, and put it in a nice card. It's not the same as the paper bond, I agree, but my wife still dutifully does this each Christmas and birthday for our nieces and nephews. The little ones don't get it, and look at us like "okay, where's my present though?", but the older ones are starting to understand that it will be worth more than the amount on the paper if they're patient about it. It has been a good introduction for the kids (and the parents!) to investments/time value of money concepts.
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
My only contention to your post is that my parents did buy us a museum membership one year. They went with us several times, and I can assure they enjoyed the present with the kids over the year.
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, | Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. | None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: | His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by HueyLD » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:35 am

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
+1.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by HoosierMike » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:36 am

As a grandparent, I did the following for each grandkid:
1. Established a UTMA with Vanguard and contributed a small amount every year. Funds always grew to around $5K which came in handy for early college expenses at age 18
2. Purchased durable, big, and fun Fisher-Price toys at Goodwill (Goodwill Outlet if nearby). Little kids love them. Make sure to clean the toy with Lysol.....it'll look like new and you will save $20+ on every toy you find.
3. Purchase small metal Match Box cars whenever I saw one I liked. Eventually accumulated a storage box of 100+ cars (average cost $1-$2 @), Kids (boys and girls) would play all day long with them then toss them back in the bucket when they left. Still have many of them in the front closet!
4. Established a Roth IRA for each kid when they started hourly jobs....currently doing this for 3 kids. Just "gifted" $3K Roth to our oldest upon turning 21 a few months ago. 40-45 years from now they just might remember old GrandaMa & Pops!
God bless

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by abuss368 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:39 am

We had to do that as well. So much toys and junk that it was overwhelming. They start to buy one toy maybe and contribute to a College 529 plan instead.
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by flyphotoguy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:40 am

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
+1

Also what you can do is ask or have a deal with them that it should be fine/ok to sell or give/donate the "old" toys. We do this to our niece/nephews and a long time ago we already had a discussion, with siblings, that they can sell/give/donate/throw away anything that has run its course.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:47 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:08 am
Watty wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:19 am

I hate that they discontinued selling paper saving bonds since those were something appropriate that you could give and have something physical to give. Somehow to me giving the same $25 or $50 check for a college fund seems cheap and we are not planning on paying large amounts for our grandkids college. I don't have a good answer for that.
How about silver eagles? Not quite a boglehead investment but fun for kids. When they are old enough you can teach them how to lookup the value of them. My wife still has a 3 or 4 of them given to her as a kid.
Yep! I have been giving our grandchildren one ounce silver coins with a Christmas theme and year date for years. I use them for stocking stuffers. When they are older, they can cash them in for spending money if they wish.

Broken Man 1999

ETA: Treasury Direct has gift certificates for various occasions that can be given in lieu of the actual savings bonds, to announce the gift.
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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obgynkenobi
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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:00 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
With all due respect, I am not saying don’t spoil your grandkids (or in this case, my kid). I never said don’t buy them ANY toys, what I said is what are some things besides toys they can do and how people have navigated this situation. I expect they will buy toys and of course I am fine with that! But I also was curious what other options people have turned to besides toys.

Also for the record, my grandparents funded a portion of my education and I am eternally grateful to them for it. I’m really happy that they “spoiled me” with money for an education, which prevented me from taking out large amounts of educational debt... rather than “spoiling me” with a bunch of plastic toys that probably would have gotten thrown out.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Gnirk » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:17 pm

Speaking as a grandparent. Yes, we do like to spoil our grandkids...if we get the chance. Our idea of spoiling was to buy them one really special ( expensive) toy that they wanted for Christmas and birthdays. However, we were never able to do so when they were little because their parents bought them everything they wanted! They had so much stuff it was ridiculous :annoyed So there was nothing left for us to buy.

We did, however, spend time with them doing fun activities appropriate for their ages. We also bought each of them a good used car when they turned 16, and funded the major portion of their college educations. Which in retrospect made a far bigger difference in their lives than a bunch of toys when they were young,

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by FoolMeOnce » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:42 pm

Another vote for the "give toys away" route. One side of our family constantly buys toys for our kids. We periodically go through and pick toys to give away to make room for the new ones. Sometimes we have the kids help and explain they are going to other kids whose family can't afford to buy as many toys, and sometimes we just make some things disappear that we know they won't miss.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:59 pm

obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:00 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
With all due respect, I am not saying don’t spoil your grandkids (or in this case, my kid). I never said don’t buy them ANY toys, what I said is what are some things besides toys they can do and how people have navigated this situation. I expect they will buy toys and of course I am fine with that! But I also was curious what other options people have turned to besides toys.

Also for the record, my grandparents funded a portion of my education and I am eternally grateful to them for it. I’m really happy that they “spoiled me” with money for an education, which prevented me from taking out large amounts of educational debt... rather than “spoiling me” with a bunch of plastic toys that probably would have gotten thrown out.
Grandparents know that their grandkids' experiences and education is important. Instead of funding those things, they may choose to buy toys. Telling them how to spend their money on your kids is self-centered, no matter how you slice and dice it to make yourself feel better.

This is what you said:
We are planning to sit down with his parents and talk to them about how we DO NOT want them to spend so much money on toys for our kid. We live in a small place and having so much stuff just does not align with our values.

What suggestions would you have for us as far as what they can spend their money on instead of toys?
Do you truly see nothing wrong with this? You are actually going to sit down with your in-laws and tell them how you don't want them spending their money and then give them suggestions on how to spend their money.

Wow.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:11 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:59 pm
obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:00 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
With all due respect, I am not saying don’t spoil your grandkids (or in this case, my kid). I never said don’t buy them ANY toys, what I said is what are some things besides toys they can do and how people have navigated this situation. I expect they will buy toys and of course I am fine with that! But I also was curious what other options people have turned to besides toys.

Also for the record, my grandparents funded a portion of my education and I am eternally grateful to them for it. I’m really happy that they “spoiled me” with money for an education, which prevented me from taking out large amounts of educational debt... rather than “spoiling me” with a bunch of plastic toys that probably would have gotten thrown out.
Grandparents know that their grandkids' experiences and education is important. Instead of funding those things, they may choose to buy toys. Telling them how to spend their money on your kids is self-centered, no matter how you slice and dice it to make yourself feel better.

This is what you said:
We are planning to sit down with his parents and talk to them about how we DO NOT want them to spend so much money on toys for our kid. We live in a small place and having so much stuff just does not align with our values.

What suggestions would you have for us as far as what they can spend their money on instead of toys?
Do you truly see nothing wrong with this? You are actually going to sit down with your in-laws and tell them how you don't want them spending their money and then give them suggestions on how to spend their money.

Wow.
I would personally be thrilled if someone was able to steer me towards a way to spend my money that is useful and meaningful rather than a bunch of garbage that is going to get thrown out. I think you are kind of exaggerating the situation, and maybe that is my fault because I didn’t choose my words as carefully as I should have on the initial post. We are in no way planning on being demeaning or rude to my in laws about their choices. We love them very much and really value having them in our lives, and we also recognize how hard they have worked throughout their lives to build the lifestyle that they want. I’m sorry if you see that as being self centered. They also are really open to this discussion! My mother in law asks us every year what we would like for Christmas bc she wants to buy us useful things that we will use and love. I imagine she would do that with our kid as well... my only concern was mainly that my nephews family expects these presents from them and I don’t want them to feel obligated to do the same for our child.

Thank you for your input though.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by hoffse » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:42 pm

I'm little help with this. We finally just bought a bigger house so we could have a basement to stash all the toys. I hate that we caved, but we did.

Our only child just turned 2. He now has a 16x17 foot playroom with a ball pit, tent, climbing thing, slide, swing, two pieces of IKEA storage furniture full of toys and blocks, an art table, an easel, and a bookshelf. There isn't even a couch or place to sit for adults. It's all kid stuff. It's absurd.

We have - I kid you not - something like 600 blocks between the various sets people have bought for us. My 2-year old occasionally builds with them, but still prefers to just dump them out and then move on. Cleaning them is a huge pain, and yes we make him help (but he's barely 2, so "help" is relative).

We have 145 books for kids under age 5. I counted them during a purge a couple weeks ago.

We don't need anymore blocks or books.

And I have taken the batteries out of all the toys that make noise.

I feel you OP, and I don't know how to stop it. We have asked both sides to please cut back, and instead they try to one-up each other for who gives the best toy. My inlaws gave my son six (!) large dump trucks for his birthday a couple weeks ago, because he likes to say the word "truck." One child does not need six dump trucks.

While it's wonderful that grandparents like to spoil their grandkids, it does create problems for their children who now have to store, rotate, purge, and donate these toys. I'm hoping that when he's a little older we can shift to things like summer camps, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:46 pm

Perhaps moderation in gifting? Frankly we didn't want to spoil the parents gifts by getting them more expensive gifts.

Also, we find chatting with the parents of our grandchildren gives us many ideas for gifts. We have given electronics, but with parent approval only. We know from experience that toys will be gifted heavily for Christmas by the parents, and their aunts/uncles. So, we have started giving other things than toys, and they are fine with that.

We still give some toys for the youngest two grandchildren, but they aren't going to be the centerpiece of the toys received on Christmas morning.The parents deserve that spotlight, IMHO.

Gift certificates for a par three golf course made our budding golfer happy. Pottery lessons/creations made the granddaughters happy.

We are very fortunate that all our grandchildren are local to us, but still, sharing an experience is a day well spent. Favorite toys come and go, experiences can be memories forever.

Some parents are trying to reduce the commercialization aspects of Christmas, birthdays, etc., and I believe the parents wishes should be respected, if they have broached the subject.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by alfaspider » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:19 pm

This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
hoffse wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:42 pm

While it's wonderful that grandparents like to spoil their grandkids, it does create problems for their children who now have to store, rotate, purge, and donate these toys.
Exactly. It's great that grandparents and other relatives love our kids and want to spoil them a bit, but they aren't the ones that have to deal with the stuff overload. I'm not talking about a nice toy for Christmas. I'm talking about a new toy that comes on average once a week. After a few years you are talking hundreds of toys. My in-laws have also given a new nutcracker every year for Christmas for each child. It's a fun tradition, but eventually you have 50+ nutcrackers that need to go somewhere and are too numerous to even bring out every Christmas. Sure, you can donate/purge, but you never know when a three year old will pitch a fit because you donated the dump truck he really loves (even though he hasn't touched it in months). Far better (and more environmentally responsible) if relatives spoiled them in a different way.

I will put it this way: I don't remember a single gift any of my grandparents ever gave me as a young child. Not one. What I do remember is the time I spent with them and the love they gave.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by clydewolf » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:54 pm

As a grand parent we gave Series E bonds when they were paper. Then we switched to cash suggesting that the child make a deposit to their savings account. We also provided magazine subscriptions appropriate for their age.

Now as great grand parents, we do not buy toys. We do the magazine thing, and we started 529 plans for each great grand child.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by TheDDC » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:08 pm

This is a classic (peak) BH discussion. I could totally see some here explaining the time value of money to grandparents at the toy store as they are going for the credit card to furnish the next piece of plastic junk to the little tykes at checkout.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Halicar » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:12 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
It's the very definition of selfish and inconsiderate to do things contrary to others' wishes just because you enjoy it.

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Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:34 pm

Halicar wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:12 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
It's the very definition of selfish and inconsiderate to do things contrary to others' wishes just because you enjoy it.
I have to agree. I think it is very disrespectful to the parents for the grandparents to not support the efforts the parents are attempting to use to navigate the path of the grandchildren.

There are many ways a grandparent can spoil the grandchildren. Helping a grandchild thru college will certainly leave a far better memory for the grandchild than receiving a toy that might hold their attention for a few months.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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