Saturday, September 24, 2011

Buy Me That: Teaching Children to be Smart Consumers

Visiting the toy store can be a nightmare. The season's hottest toys are strategically placed at a child's eye level where they can't be missed. Excited kids scan the isles looking for something to buy, toys to add to their Christmas lists.
What actually makes toys "hot" has almost nothing to do with quality or entertainment value. Advertising budget determines how popular a toy is. How many times the image of the toy is imprinted in your child's mind-through paper and TV ads-determines how likely they are to want it.
Make your next trip to the toy store a learning experience. Teach kids to be better consumers through fun, simple lessons.

It's the Size of the Package that Matters
More so than the size of the actual toy, the size of the package is what attracts attention. Point out the size of package compared to the size of the toy. Read the small print which usually states that the product pictured is larger than actual size. Talk about value for the dollar. Lower priced toys are more likely the result of less overhead-less advertising and packaging-than poor quality.

This Looked Cooler on TV
Show your child specific toys that she has seen on TV and has said she wants. Compare the real toy to the way it appeared in the commercial. If it is a doll that eats and wets, explain that once the food and diapers run out the doll may not be as exciting. Show her that the joints don't bend, the skin is hard and the doll is heavy, for example.

Avoid the New Toy Trap
If your son is just dying for the new version of his favorite hand-held gaming console, talk with him about it. Does the new system require new games or is it compatible with the old games? Are the new features features that he will really use? Check out reviews and be sure that it is worth the money. Just because it is the newest version doesn't mean that it is the best or most useful version.