Grandparents can’t wait to spoil their grandchildren and your house after the holidays is proof. The problem is all that “generosity” is not only cluttering your home, it’s not great for kids either. They wind up with an overstimulating onslaught of gifts they don’t need and won’t even end up playing with. But when we try to tell our parents to ease up, they tend to take it as rejection, we’re left feeling ungrateful and the kids still get a ridiculous pile of presents under the Christmas tree.
According to PureWow, here is what can moms and dads do to get grandparents to reel it in? Try these expert ideas:
- Communicate early and often – Grandmother DeeDee Moore works to help “reprogram” over-gifting grandparents and she suggests bringing up the subject as something you want to come to an agreement about, not rules you’re laying down. She points out that grandparents are “very receptive to helping their grandchild have an amazing life,” and they’re more likely to take direction that’s presented in a loving way.
- Keep the focus on the kids – Grandma might not care that you don’t want more toys in your crowded apartment, but she will care if you explain it’s negatively affecting your child because they’re overwhelmed by all the toys.
- Connect gits to values – Instead of just saying, “We don’t want more stuff!” try coming up with a value-based gift with the grandparents. Want to teach compassion? Ask them to find a book about kindness for your child.
- Seek out shared experiences – Have grandparents buy the same Lego set they send the grandkids, so they can FaceTime and build it “together.” Or ask them to buy a gift card to a local ice cream shop and when they visit, the child can “buy” ice cream for them.
- Cultivate keepsakes – Suggest an heirloom or project-based gift, like putting together a photo album of the family or have them write a special letter to their grandchild every holiday. Adults always wish they had more time with their grandparents and these types of gifts can help them hold onto that connection forever.