- My number one piece of advice is to start an online wish list for your child. (I use amazon.com for my kids) You know what your child already owns, would like, and would benefit from, so don't be afraid to make specific suggestions. Make sure you fill out the comments section so that people know specifically why you want that gift for your child ("This would help my child with his balance" or "My child struggles with ball play, so this would really help!") People want to help out, so if they know that their gift will be put to good use, they will be more apt to buy it. So if your mother-in-law asks what to buy your child for Christmas, you simply refer her to the wish list. You can also email the wish list to your family and friends so that they won't have to ask. If you have a friend or family member whose child participates in PT or OT, ask if they have a wish list before you buy a gift for their child.
- My number two piece of advice is to try to find toys and games that can serve more than one purpose. There are several reasons for this, the most obvious being getting the most bang for your buck. Also, it helps reduce toy clutter and will (in theory) help get more use out of the toy since your child would be less apt to get bored with it. A toy that operates on its own with the push of a button would not be nearly as beneficial for motor and cognitive development as one that requires some sort of skill or problem-solving to play with.
- My final piece of advice is to look beyond material gifts. Swimming lessons are great for kids with ADHD, with low tone, with sensory processing disorder, and/or with decreased strength. Gymnastics, karate, and dance lessons would also be great. If your family likes the outdoors, consider an annual pass to your local Regional and State parks so that you can hike as often as you'd like. (The OC Parks annual pass starts at $55.) Tickets or annual passes to a children's museum would be great, too, since kids would be able to play and explore in a fun new environment. Try Pretend City, Kidspace, or the La Habra Children's Museum.
|Riding a pedal car at Pretend City|
|The rope web at KidSpace|
|The "construction" area at KidSpace|
|The baby room at KidSpace|
|Digging for fossils at the La Habra Children's Museum|
For convenience, all of the gifts I recommend will be available for purchase on amazon.com (yay free shipping!). You can also purchase great stuff at Lakeshore Learning Stores, Toys R Us/Babies R Us, Target, or other toy stores.