FamilyLife.Rocks parenting in germany

Brass Band Music

Sooner or later parents have to occupy themselves with the question: what toys do you give to your children. The reasons for this question are manifold:

  • you want to retain to a certain concept of education
  • you want your child to mostly recieve natural materials like wood, stone and silk
  • you are constantly asked to provide ideas to relatives what present to bring for the next birth, christmas, easter, or as a small gift when visiting

We mostly have to deal with the last case. We had to setup strict rules to prevent chaos from getting the best of us. Nonwithstanding the above mentioned educational concept nobody wants to meander through the apartment to sidestep piles of toys not even a child with an excavator could master.

In our family the rules for gifts are:

  1. No clothes for the kid
  2. No presents that hold a battery compartment

The first rule is easy to explain. We have been given children’s clothes from two families we are friends with and our son will have enough clothes to wear until his first day of school and beyond. What little still is missing we will buy ourselves.

The second rule is just as simple to explain but harder to understand. We - well actually it is just me - do not tolerate toys that make noises, play music, or emit honks and toots. These sounds freak me out. I swear after 15 minutes every bleeping absurdity will be thrown out of the window. I do not have the balls for this.

Meanwhile I tell this to every grandmother, aunt, grandgrandmother, and grant aunt. Every single guidebook for families advises parents to look after themselves and minimize stress and look for niches of recreation. Only when the parents are well, the family will be fine as well. And since I am 50 percent of the parents I am allowed to establish such strict rules.

So how do the rules work out? I can tell you: our child has not recieved a single gift with a battery to date. This is probably mostly due to the sanctions that will be imposed on violation of the rules. The person bringing the first battery powered toy will recieve a brass band as a thank-you note. It will be delivered on the front lawn early sunday morning.

Do not get me wrong - we have nothing against Bavarian brass band music. But the established threatening posture works so far (our child is almost 2 years old).