Are you buying presents for baby troopers this Christmas? Follow these golden rules from a dad that has navigated his way through several successful Christmases with his own three little troopers.
1. You don't have to buy anything.
Christmas isn't about buying presents because you feel you 'have' to. There are a number of things that you really do have to do for your baby trooper: feed, clothe, love, protect and teach them. Please note that buying presents is not on that list. If you find yourself motivated to buy presents through guilt, or what you believe other people might think, or if you feel under pressure to buy specific toys because they are in fashion, STOP.
The only exception to this rule is if you have older troopers that believe Santa brings gifts - if you don't buy a little something for baby, then it may appear the have been 'naughty'. It can be something small though - Santa knows that the most important thing to give a baby at Christmas is a lot of love and (gentle) kisses.
However, if you really do want to buy your baby gifts - and in this current climate it's great to support the High Street - or if relatives are asking for suitable present ideas, bear in mind the following advice.
2. Buy, or ask for, what you need.
If our baby trooper requires any kit, from clothes to a cot then why not make this their Christmas gift? This will be genuinely useful to you and your baby trooper. In the absence of guidance from you about suitable gifts, you may end up with a host of cuddly toys and Christmas outfits with a severely limited shelf life.
3. Go for bold colours and interesting textures.
Babies aren't attracted to pastel colours - parents are. If buying anything for baby troopers, from toys to clothes, go for big, bright and bold colours. Babies love texture, but make sure not to give them anything with sharp corners if they have the dexterity to put their hand to their mouth. Baby troopers love to taste their world and will try and put everything in their mouth. In the early days of developing this skill the sometimes miss and hit themselves in the face. Make sure their toys are soft enough to cause no harm.
4. Toys with (gentle) noise.
Loud and sudden noises can startle young baby troopers. But all troopers love toys with noise, regardless of their age. Go for something easy on the ear, like a soft rattle or a tinkling bell. This has the added advantage of being easier for your ears too - too much noise can be overwhelming for the whole unit.
5. Ration, or donate, surplus gifts.
Contrary to popular belief, you really can get too much of a good thing. If your baby trooper gets a hoard of toys at Christmas, hide some of the evergreen ones that you believe they will get fun out of in the coming months (depending on their stage of development): soft toys, rattles, interactive toys etc. These can then be brought out of hiding throughout the year, which means your baby trooper will have a steady supply of new toys.
Let your baby trooper play with the age-appropriate toys they have been given, and let them decide which ones they like. The ones that don't get played with can be kept safe and donated to charities that provide presents for underprivileged children next Christmas. In my opinion there is simply nothing better that you can do with them.