Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Appropriate Gifts - Making Suggestions to Relatives

Having your child receive a gift that will not last long, or is inappropriate, is one sure way to put a damper on the holiday. It's difficult for many relatives to select toys for children they see infrequently, and for youngsters with special needs, this process becomes a special challenge. Here are a few tips you can provide as guidance:


  • The first consideration must always be safety. 
    • Check the World Against Toys Causing Harm site at toysafety.org for information on recalls and safety warnings. 
    • Children over the age of three years who continue to put non-food items into their mouths should not be given toys with small pieces. 
    • ToysRUs has a site with safety hints for children with special needs. 
    • Is the toy durable to last for over a year without breaking or coming apart?
    • Is it resistant to water and can it be washed or cleaned?
  • The next factor is the frustration level. 
    • It should be difficult enough to provide a challenge, but not so hard it is frustrating--for example children with fine motor problems would appreciate larger building blocks, while tiny parts would prove impossible. 
    • How much force is required to activate lights, motion, etc.?
    • Games and puzzles should not have many complex steps, or the child will lose interest. 
    • Can game rules be adapted so the youngster will feel successful?
    • Is the activity or craft manageable alone, or does it require assistance?
  • Appeal is also important. 
    • Contrasting colors and varied textures provide stimulation. 
    • Scents may attract some children and upset others--you need to give recommendations for your individual child on this one. 
    • Lights and sounds are exciting and entertaining, but may also annoy parents.
    • Does it allow for creativity or flexible play?
    • Is it both developmentally and age appropriate?
  • Toy use and positioning should also be examined.
    • Can it be used by children who must lie down for part of the day? 
    • Will it fit on a wheelchair tray?
    • Is it adjustable in height, volume, speed, or difficulty level?
    • For those in smaller apartments or homes, storage may be an issue.
    • Does it expose the child to new technological skills? 
  • Popularity can be a plus.
    • Is it based on a familiar character?
    • Does it tie in to a preferred TV show or movie?
    • Would other children like this toy?
  • Opportunities for interaction are beneficial.
    • Will the child actively participate in the toy use?
    • Can the toy be shared with others?
    • Does it encourage interaction?

You may want to create a checklist from the items above that are a priority for you, and give this to the potential gift givers. They will appreciate the helpful hints. 

How do you share information about appropriate Christmas gifts for your child?