First I will say I am the kind of person who doesn’t usually talk about Christmas until December but this season I feel like I need to talk about Christmas as a Medical Momma. Christmas time can be a hard season for many reasons and when you through in some additional needs it can be quite overwhelming. In this 4 part series I am hoping a parent out there will feel less alone this season. I still remember that first Christmas with Lilly and how excited I was to buy her all these neat toys.
The toys we picked out where developmentally right for Lilly’s age at the time and honestly they were awesome toys. In the beginning of my career as an Early Childhood Provider I worked in a zero to eighteen month room. During that time I had played with every kind of toy imaginable for that age group. I picked out the dream toys I would have wanted in my child care room.
Christmas morning that year was heart breaking; Lilly wasn’t into seventy percent of the toys. Some of the toys I ended up giving away and now at age eight she would probably enjoy some of them. As a mom I was devastated and as I professional I felt like a failure. The Momma guilt was huge. How did I get it so wrong?
Well eight years later I have learned a few things about shopping for the additional needs and I am going to share with you my tricks as a mom.
Quality Matters Quality Matters for two reasons; durability and longevity. Living with a child who throws, and squeezes toys really hard with her hands I want toys that will not break after one play. I personally lean towards wood, fabric, and metal toys for that reason. Longevity of a toy is huge for us because it can take years before my kids out grow a toy. Also some of Lilly’s play therapy goals will take years to accomplish. They play with toys that I bought for Lilly when she was two!
Intentional Toys About 95% of the toys in my house have a purpose; to help develop my children. As an early childhood professional I know toys are children’s job. It’s how they learn and process their environment. The toys in our house support both children’s speech, occupational and physical therapy. The awesome side effect of this is if I don’t have anything planned they still get their home therapy in!
Buy All Year Due to goals changing constantly we buy things all year for our children. We also try to give them neat life experiences like horseback riding. For both Birthdays and Christmas we don’t go all out for this reason. I set a realistic limit and try to keep with it.
Under our Christmas Tree the kids will find five presents; stockings (20 dollar limit,) something they want, something they need, a book and a movie. (I admit the movie is to keep them quite on Christmas day) Additional needs often come with additional things and its okay to give some things at Christmas. This year my kiddo’s are getting pricey winter gear because it is what they need and want.
The thing to remember is your children won’t remember what toy you gave them in 5 year’s time but they will remember the moments you had. Please join my next week when I talk about balancing Christmas Memories and Sick Kiddos.