Do the Gifts Your Charges Get Spoil the Children?

The Great Divide, Now in the Toy Aisle

Nannies typically work for wealthy families. When I shop for the gifts for friends and family I don’t shop where my employers shop. When my employer stocks up on Christmas gifts she uses a personal shopper at Nordstrom, visits FAO Shwartz for toys, and a professional photographer comes to her home for holiday photos.

I try to buy high quality gifts by shopping online and watching for sales. But, according to the article “The Great Divide, Now in the Toy Aisle” by Ginia Bellafante in the NY Times I won’t ever find the same high-quality, educational toys at the stores I shop at that my boss will find at her higher end shops. The article suggests that many educational toys can only be found at exclusive shops and will never make the aisles of chain stores like Toys “R” Us.

Of course the author of the article also explains, “The obvious counterpoint to these arguments is that there is no clear proof that toys intended to bolster cognitive abilities actually do so.”

A point not made in the article is that as a domestic worker I will never be able to give as expensive gifts as my employer, and that is okay. The sentiment of a gift is always more important than how much the gift costs. But, I once gave the parents I worked for nice sweaters I had picked out at Kmart for their Christmas gifts and the father looked at the tags on the sweaters and scoffed. He never wore the sweater. That reaction from a parent reminds me that during the holidays the most important lessons we can teach children are gratitude, appreciation, respect, and good manners.

Do you think the kids you care for at your nanny job have more educational toys, more expensive toys, better quality toys compared to lower income families? Do you think the gifts your charges get during the holidays spoil the children?

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