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How Do I Choose The Most Suitable Toys For My Pre-Teens?

Photo of an upscale pre-teen toy store.

When is the last time you went toy shopping with your pre teens? How successful was your shopping trip? Did you come home empty handed or did you come home totally frustrated? Did you feel that you wanted to rip out your hair at the end of your trip because your kids were not happy with what you bought them?

One of the major complaints from parents is that their pre teen kids never seem to be satisfied with their choice of toys for them and on the other side of the coin one of the major complaints from pre teens is that their parents really do not get it when it comes to their likes and dislikes.

At the end of the day both sides are correct. More often than not, parents and their pre teens really do not communicate very well when it comes to understanding each other's likes, dislikes, and preferences.

Parents often assume that their pre teens crave those toys because their friends already have it and they need to have it as well and on the flip side pre teens often believe that their parents probably prefer them to have those toys that are safer for them to play with, less expensive, and toys that are more educational in nature.

It is all about a lot of give and take from both sides and the reasons given above indeed factor into this often interesting equation. Is it possible to go on shopping trips for toys with your pre teens and come home with satisfactory smiles on everyone's faces?

The answer to this is a resounding yes and here are some dos and don'ts to get you started.

  1. Don't go shopping for toys for your pre teens on your own. The worst thing that you can do is to do this and leave them at home.

  2. Don't go toy shopping each time your pre teens ask you to buy them a toy. You need to pick and choose when and how often you do this. You need to develop a fair balance. Birthdays, Christmases, and maybe on special occasions are good times to go toy shopping. Special occasions may include as a reward for doing well in class or at a competition.

  3. It is not a good idea to buy a toy for a pre teen either as a means of bribing them or placating them. It is probably two of the worse things that any parent could do.

So now we get down to what could be a suitable toy for your pre teen and we are going to leave you with some suggestions.

First, communicate with your pre teen and do your best to discover and understand why they would like you to buy them a certain toy. You need to ask them the following questions:

Is it because their friends already have it? Is it because they saw it somewhere before IE on TV, on the Internet, or in a store? Is it because they heard others talking about it? Why do they think they need it? How often do they think they would be playing with it?

Second, you need to ensure that the toy you purchase for your pre teen will be one that is going to capture their attention for as long as possible. This may be difficult to gage but just do your best.

Third, make sure that your pre teen is introduced to the toy fully before you buy it. That is, take them to a store to see it and if possible play with it before you buy it. One of the worst things for both parents and pre teens is to buy a toy before either parent or pre teen has even touched it or seen it physically.

Fourth and finally, never buy a toy for your pre teen because you like it. Remember now; it has to be a buy in on both sides. Sometimes you may not like what they do but as long as they can convince you that they will play with it.

Here are some resources to get you started.

A great gift guide for pre teens:

Best Toys for Kids List features toys that deliver exceptional value and expand a child's development:

Top Toys and Games for Pre-Teens:

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