10 Things You Should Never Buy for Your Kids

Written by Oana Schneider

According to , for 2013, kids aged six to twelve generated a $2 billion revenue for the gaming industry. This goes to show how much parents are willing to spend to give in to the whims of their kids.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in giving your children what they want, but there comes a point when it would all be a tad too much. You don’t want to raise a spoiled brat even if you’re a million-dollar earning parent, so you need to know what you should and should not buy for your kids.

Let’s take comedian Jerry Seinfeld as an example. In an episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”, he shared an anecdote with fellow comedian Kevin Hart. Seinfeld said, “You know what I say when my kids ask if we’re rich? I am. You’re not.” Considering the net worth of Seinfeld, it’s pretty easy for him to give their kids whatever they want. But his goal as a parent is to raise down-to-earth kids. No matter what your income level is, your goal should be the same.

Although you should make it a point to give your children what they need to lead a safe, healthy and comfortable life, there are some things which you should never buy for them. This includes practically everything they ask for, because doing so will raise them to be self-indulgent brats who do not know the meaning of hard work. Take a cue from such Hollywood celebrities who are raising their kids to keep their feet on the ground.

Top 10 Things Parents Should Never Buy for their Kids

For smart parents who would like to raise their kids with a good head above their shoulders, take a look at the top ten things that you should never buy for your children:

1. A television set for the bedroom

Unlike kids from previous generations who had to actually play outside because there were no electronic gizmos yet to hold their attention at home, there are way too many tech-related distractions these days. From computers to tablet computers, mobile phones to gaming consoles, it all seems a bit too much.

Most parents agree that a television set with cable access is the one thing that they should not buy for their kids. Not only will it serve as another excuse for them to stay indoors all day, but it prevents them from socializing and interacting with other kids. Even more dangerous is the fact that you won’t be able to monitor what your child is watching, so it’s better not to have a TV in the kid’s bedroom at all.

2. DVDs

With streaming services like Netflix, buying physical DVDs of your kid’s favorite movies seems to be an unnecessary purchase. If you have two daughters who are addicted to the film Frozen, you might have seen the movie hundreds of times. Although one or two DVDs of their favorite films should be okay, any more than that is simply wasteful. And you don’t want your child to watch the same movie dozens of times, anyway, so stick to a mix of titles with more variety. The bonus is that you will save money in the process, too.

3. A smartphone

If you are bringing and picking up your kids from school on a daily basis, anyway, why would you need to give them a smartphone? If you’re worried about the safety of your child, you might want to give him or her a basic phone to use temporarily during one or two-day outings, or in summer camp. But a smartphone which will simply be used for texting, social networking and calling might be luxury expense instead of a necessity.

On the other hand, there are instances when kids might be responsible enough to have their own phones. If you have a tween or a teen who won’t stop bugging you to buy a smartphone, all that whining means that he or she is seeing the ownership of a phone as a right rather than a privilege. If this is the case, be firm in saying no. For kids who do well in class and who parents think are responsible enough, a smartphone could be a good reward.

4. An expensive birthday party

You’ve probably heard of parents spending thousands of dollars for the birthday party of their one-year-old kid. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in celebrating the birthday of your child, but anything that’s too over-the-top should be avoided. This is especially true if you’re throwing lavish birthday parties year after year. Your kid might think that such flashy celebrations are a regular part of the lives of ordinary folks, when it actually is a luxury.

If your son or daughter is about to celebrate a birthday, a simple celebration with family and close friends will do.

5. Tablet computers, laptops and other electronic gadgets

Again, remember that these days, kids are born thinking that having a computer with Internet access, tablets and every other gadget imaginable is their birth right. This is not true at all. If you don’t want to raise a kid whose face is glued to a screen 24/7, you should actually limit their electronics use. Of course, you need to have a laptop or desktop computer handy for doing research for school or playing the occasional games. But it should be placed in an open part of the house where you can monitor the usage.

Another disadvantage of buying these electronic gadgets for your kids is that they are expensive and do not really encourage creative thinking.

6. The latest gaming console

Wii, Xbox and other gaming consoles seem to be a must-have for kids these days – but parents should not necessarily buy it for them. These gaming consoles can be very expensive and unless you’re a gamer yourself, you would find that these games take up too much of your kids’ time and attention. They can be very addictive, so try not to buy this for your kids if possible.

If your kid is a gamer at heart, have him or her work on age-appropriate chores or think of ways to earn money so that the latest gaming console can be bought. This teaches your kid the value of working hard for what he or she wants.

7. Trendy shoes, clothes, etc

What if you’re born with a daughter who is into fashion? She might want to keep up with everything that’s trendy, especially when her friends in school are wearing the same thing. Although there’s nothing wrong in buying new clothes for your kids, anything that’s too frivolous will not do them any favors. If you know that your kid is asking you to buy something trendy just so that he or she could be ‘in’ at school, learn how to say no – and do it firmly.

8. Violent video games

Is there any question about this? As a parent, you should realize that there’s already enough easy access to sex, foul language and violence these days for your kids. Sometimes, no matter how closely you monitor their every movement, they can still encounter such things at school or outside. You wouldn’t want to add to that by buying them violent video games.

Grand Auto Theft, for instance, is called a ‘training manual for gangsters’ by a clerk at a video store – and you wouldn’t want your kid playing this game at all. If you must buy video games for your kid, look for the family-friendly ones, or titles which help them develop their strategic thinking skills.

9. Toys which are a choking hazard for small kids

Every year, there’s a hot toy in the market which gets released just in time for the holiday rush. When you’re a parent, you should be careful not to buy ones which are a choking hazard for small kids. Lil’ Cutesies, for instance, are marketed as being suitable for kids aged 2 years old and up. However, the dolls have a tiny ribbon on the head which, when accidentally torn from the toy, will be a choking hazard. Other toys which can be harmful for the kids playing them as well as their playmates should not be bought either.

10. Toys which are unsafe for children

Finally, never buy toys which are unsafe for children. Before purchasing toys, check out what the recommended age is on the package. Make sure that there are no small parts which can serve as a choking hazard. Plastic swords or guns are also big no-nos. Check out the online reviews so that you can see what other parents have to say about a specific model. If there’s a danger when your child plays with such toys, just don’t buy it.

As a parent, you want only the best for your child. By knowing which things to buy for them and which things not to buy for them, you can raise them to be good kids in a safe and healthy environment.

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About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois and was part of our team as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget and has a degree in Communications.


  • I’ve always thought about these things. It’s actually interesting and it surprises me how people actually get those things to their kids. One thing I would of been guilty of is the smartphone thing, sometimes it’s really hard when your child is just always wanting one and you don’t know what to do. I wouldn’t buy kids toys though, I’ve always disagreed with the concept of toys. I’d rather buy them a good book to read.

  • I agree with several of the points in the article above. Yes, discipline has to be cultivated in kids, right from the beginning, else they develop an indifferent attitude and become social misfits when they grow up. However, small gifts like good shoes and fashionable clothing may be considered, when they stand first in class or win a debate or competition. If parents are too strict, they might feel dejected or neglected. Children constantly compare themselves with other kids and can develop a complex easily. It’s important to see that their morale doesn’t drop down.

  • I definitely agree that no child should be entitled to the things listed here. I can’t say I would never, ever buy certain items for my children (provided I changed my mind about having children, haha), but they would never take priority over the basic necessities. I’ve always been of the mind that if a child wants something listed here, or some sort of similar extra item, they need to understand these things take work to acquire. And if they can prove themselves, some of these items could be a reward.

  • I totally agree on a lot of these points! As a kid who grew up when cell phones we first becoming really mainstream, I still didn’t have mine until I was 18 and I paid for it myself. A lot of the luxuries we think kids “need” is only taking more away from some of the finer points of being a kid. As with all things, moderation is the key. Kids need to learn about tech early, but they also need to have real world experiences too!

  • Great list. We definitely do not allow a t.v. in our daughter’s bedroom. My parents allowed it in mine and I was in my room every night watching t.v. It definitely was an awful habit. I recently bought a tablet for myself but allow my daughter to use it on a very limited basis. She gets to use it for 30 minutes a night IF she is good. However, she has to earn that time to use it. If she has any bad behavior at all, that time gets taken away from her and she can try again the next day. I usually try to buy educational things or crafts to keep my kids busy. It is great as it is brain stimulating and they will learn as they play. These are the kinds of toys I wish that more of my relatives would buy my daughter as well instead of the junky toys that they forget about a week later.

  • Thank you for all these sound advice. I don’t have kids or plan to have any but I did work as a babysitter for a few years. The family I worked for was quite well off and they had 3 daughters. One is a baby, and the other ones were 3 and 7. While I could see childish energy from these kids (they still enjoyed outdoors activities like riding their bike or playing on the backyard swings) when they were inside, it was just them being glued to the tv. Especially the oldest one, her indoor life was mainly alternating between the disney channel and nickelodeon. I’ve never seen her reading a book. Oh they had a tv in their bedroom too. Soon though, the parents had bought her a tablet, and she was always on that, watching youtube videos, chatting with her friends and playing games on it. Before that, she might have played console games in the family room, which might have allowed her to interact with her sister, but now with the tablet, it’s just solo.

    And these girls, oh dear, they had so much fashionable clothes. They probably had more shoes than me in my entire life! I was like, does little kids who grow out of their shoes and clothes so quickly really need this many? Their mother was fashionable, so she really decked out her daughters in fashion. It’s cute and all but the kids were spoiled rotten.

    I remember when I was a kid, my main excitement was reading novels like Nancy Drew and others like it. The thing I agree with the most is not allowing your kids things that make it hard for you to monitor their activity. Internet is a scary place for naive kids. So much damage can be done if they are not monitored properly. Most importantly is to give kids proper guidance and counselling and create a bond with them so that they understand. Because what you restrict for them at home, they can still find it elsewhere. They need to understand why it is not allowed and they need to be disciplined to listen to their parents even in the absence of their parents. They need to learn responsibility and value of things.

  • Nice post Oana! and i totally agree with all things you mention in above article. many thing like Violent video games,Trendy shoes,electronic gadgets, kind of Toys could be sometimes harmful for your children.

  • I agree especially with the phone. Kids do not need cellphones. I grew up without one. I didn’t own my own smartphone until I was 27. One of cousins recently bought her 9 year old son an Iphone. I just find it crazy but I guess its not my kid.

  • You wrote Grand Theft Auto wrong. And you based your entire opinion of the game on what a clerk at a game store said. And the clerk’s description of the game makes him sound kind of clueless. So that part of the article has a feeling of “Oh ,you kids today and your loud music.”
    You would probably sound more credible ,savvy and cool if you had researched the game instead of calling it by the wrong name and asking a clerk at the mall what it’s about.
    I’m a mother of a teenage girl and we’re fans of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise.
    GTA V is basically an interactive movie about Michael, a retired criminal with two ungrateful teenagers and a high maintenance wife, Trevor , a psycho meth dealer with mommy issues who is fiercely loyal to his friends and has been mourning Michael’s (fake) death for years. And there’s Franklin, a young repo man who aspires to bigger things and a lavish lifestyle like Michael has. Michael reluctantly comes out of retirement to mentor him. No they are not heroes or role models, but they are weirdly interesting and likeable. And if it was a movie instead of a game, the same people that are criticizing it would be lining up for tickets. Of course you shouldn’t buy the game for small children. That’s why the ESRB puts ratings on the boxes of video games. That’s more common sense parenting than frugal living advice.

  • I agree with your great article, and I saw many parents gave their child freedom. but it is wrong for a child. Its also harmful products like Violent video games, Trendy shoes, electronic gadgets.

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