Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Four Questions When Getting Toys for Baby

By Brandi Rhoades

Once your baby is born, you will want to begin purchasing toys and other playthings. While you may be ready for your little one to jump up and join you in play, he or she is a few months from that yet. Still, it isn't too early to begin to think about what toys you will purchase for your baby.

The first question that you will want to ask is whether or not you oppose the ethics of the toy. While you may think that babyhood is free from these questions, it is not so. If you oppose guns, someone will find a baby gun to purchase for your infant. If you feel very strongly about not gender stereotyping your child, you will still find that most people will give your baby boy only sports equipment and your daughter play kitchens. You need to stand up to these decisions early in your baby's life and decide how you will proceed.

The second question is about your baby's safety when playing with a certain toy. Many people go overboard with their concerns for safety, so you should be sure that you educate yourself about a toy and then make your best decision. Be sure that you check out how sturdy a toy is before you purchase it. Try to look at the toy in its completed state before you make a purchase decision. You also should check out whether it has small parts, strings, or is easily breakable, and you should avoid it if it is.

Purchase age appropriate toys for baby. You may find something too adorable to pass up. In this case, get it and put it away until baby is old enough to enjoy it. There could be safety factors to take into account if you do not purchase toys that are right for your baby at this age. The other problem, though, is that your baby may not be interested in the toy because he simply is not old enough to understand how to play with it. That will only frustrate you and baby, so make sure you check the suggested ages on the package and that you watch to see if Baby can really get any enjoyment out of a particular toy.

The final consideration is the stimulation a toy provides for your little one. You should look early in baby's life for toys that stimulate sight, sound, or taste. Your little one will be more likely to play with these toys. As your newborn becomes an older infant, you should begin to purchase toys that will help her learn valuable lessons, such as how to identify certain shapes or that require hand-eye coordination. These toys will be fun for baby, and they will be educational as well.

If you look for these factors in baby's toys, you will find that your little guy or gal will have a blast with the toys you bring home, and you can feel better that he or she is getting the most out of each play session.

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