Cap at Stop Buying Crap has a great post from a couple weeks ago that I just found today. Check out five things I’ll never buy for my future kids. He’s got some good humor sprinkled in, but I have to agree with the serious points he makes – kids don’t need any of this stuff (I didn’t even know $20,000 playhouses existed!) They need love and attention, not computer games and DVD players. We just have one TV, and it dates back to the 90210 era. We are only ever going to have one TV, and there won’t be one in the car. My family managed to take plenty of road trips, and there were four children. Two is our max – so I think we should be able to handle driving with our child(ren) without adding a TV to the car.
I didn’t have a car until I graduated from college. I’ll encourage the same thing with our son, and we certainly won’t be paying for a car or gas or insurance if he chooses to get one before then. I remember when I was in college that parking permits were expensive and even then people would still have to circle the lots looking for a space – much easier to bike or walk to class. Anyway, by the time our son is old enough to drive, gas will probably be $50/gallon and he won’t be able to afford to drive even if we wanted him to.
Our son is nearly 3 months old. Our strategy so far has been to avoid shopping in places like Babies R Us or Target… you go in those places and see stuff that you never even knew you didn’t have. We’re doing just fine with the stuff we got as hand-me-downs and gifts. Our son does enjoy his vibrating bouncy chair and the play mat that has little toys hanging off of it. Both were recycled from other families that had outgrown them, and while they’re not fancy, they do the job. The playmat came with the mat and the crossed tubes above it, but no toys. So I took several small soft books with loops on them and tied them to the cross bars with yarn. He loves to grab at them, and we can lie on the floor next to him and read the stories to him while he grabs at the books.
I know that we can’t shelter our son from consumerism forever. One day he’ll be in school and he’ll want the same jeans/toys/phone/shoes, etc. that all the other boys have (but wanting and getting are two different things). I know I went through that phase for a lot of years myself. But for now, we’ll avoid consumerism wherever we can, and shower our little guy with our time and attention instead of with stuff.