My Child Says “NO!” to Buying Cheap Plastic Toys

Broken Cheap Plastic ToyNo Store Meltdowns in Toy Isles or at Point-of-Purchase Displays, Two Years Strong. He’s Now a Plastic Connoisseur!

Lesson Learned: If you decide to buy something poorly made, then the inevitable will happen. The toy will break. There will be disappointment. You’ll have to return it, or lose money.

Knock on plastic,” but my 5-year-old son has NEVER had a temper tantrum in a store. Maybe, I’m just lucky. However, I think my unconventional parenting technique that includes initial “cave-ins” to avoid future conniption fits in stores has more to do with it!

Two years later, these are the “teachable moments” for training my son to put cheap plastic toys back on the shelf:

Buy the First Cheap Plastic Toy.

My son first spotted the ever-so-dreamy toy section in a general store two years ago. Bedazzled, he picked out his first cheap plastic digger toy. I repeatedly told him “it’s cheap plastic and will break.” I bought it for him anyway. Sure enough, two days later, it broke. The tears were pitiful for this 3-year-old.

Buy Another Cheap Plastic Toy.

The second opportunity came six months later. For a special occasion, I brought him to a toy store. He wanted a plastic fire truck. I said to him “it’s cheap plastic and will break.” I bought the toy, and it broke within the hour.

Let Your Child “Think About” Making a Choice.

The third teachable moment came when my son just turned 4-years-old. He wanted a cheap super-sized tractor trailer. After thinking about the toy in-hand, he put it back on the shelf. Then, he picked out a plastic “Made in the U.S.A.” toy truck, and said “I don’t want it to break, Mommy, so I picked out THIS one instead. Is this plastic okay, or is it made out of cheap plastic, too?” My son then became a plastic toy connoisseur. He knows the difference between cheaply made plastic and well-made plastic.

Encourage Your Child to Walk Away.

About one month later, my son wanted another cheap plastic toy at a grocery store. I said, “why don’t we wait until we see something that is better made and buy something else another time” … “and not made out of cheap plastic, Mommy” as he finished my sentence! Several scenes like this later, he knows to just walk away from cheap plastic toys!

Admittedly, there was a “relapse” at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, last year when he wanted a NASA commemorative space shuttle set. I caved in as we were on vacation.

Within 15 minutes, he broke off the plastic space shuttle door as we were leaving. My husband snapped the door back on. It never did close properly after that. Several repair attempts later, my son finally decided to use my hair elastics to keep the door closed whenever he puts the space shuttle on the wobbly and broken display mount.

My Son’s Recent “Aha” Moment: “When I grow up, Mommy, I am going to own a “Made in America” toy factory and I will NOT make cheap plastic toys that break.”

Article and photo by Alicia Sakal. Originally Published in Yahoo! Parenting.

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