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I’ve always wanted my kids to have a childhood similar to mine.

It’s a romantic notion, but the memories of tearing off my school uniform in the afternoons, downing a Milo and running out to play with the neighbourhood kids are sentimental and they’re perfect.


Noses weren’t buried in screens and toys were something you used when you had to come inside.

Play, with its mosquito bites and grazed knees, with its grass stains and dirty fingernails, was organic, free and dripping with creativity.



I’m not comfortable with the idea of any entity dictating how my kids should think.  I don’t want my children becoming slaves to consumerism, marketing and branding.  I want them to be smarter than that.  Even at this young age, I want them to have some intelligence on the saturation of media around them.




Bill usually got it right.



Now, in the lead-up to Christmas limiting the gimmicks thrust before our kids is important to us.  We want them to make decisions about what they’re playing and to make sure they actually like and want their toys – not because someone is telling them to do so.



So whenever we see a cool toy, especially a pre-loved cool toy, we tend to pick it up.


Here’s a few beauties that my son adores.



Mr Robo’s own 1987 Cobra Super Copter electronic game.  Still in fine working order, this relic is powered up only for extra special rewards.






Vintage Tonka fire truck.  Mr Robo salvaged this one from a lady who was throwing it out. She’d bought it second hand for her own son, 26 years ago. One man’s trash…






Circa 1970s army truck bought by me at the Balmain Markets.  This baby’s as heavy as they come.  Like, irresponsible-parent-heavy.





I hardly ever discuss parenting with others – it’s individual.  And Mr Robo and I parent with our own style of logic and instinct and others may not entirely approve.


But I desperately don’t want my kids developing traits that I find off-putting in other people.

I want them to see beyond materialism and labels.  I want them to listen to stories, to understand where things come from and to appreciate the value of their belongings. 



I just think it’s really important.


What do you reckon?




Robo X

About Robomum

I blog after my kids go to sleep. It takes a while. View all posts by Robomum

17 responses to “Kidsumerism

  • Lydia C. Lee

    Indeed – but it gets harder and harder. I am amazed at the plethora of chain clothes stores that adults go mad over – I fail to understand everyone one wants the same clothes as everyone else. Yet it’s marketed into us from a very young age. I have a friend who went to Singapore, who didn’t enjoy it as a holiday, yet all they did was go shopping?! So go figure, if you hang out in one big shopping mall, that’s the same as the shopping malls all over the world, it may not make for the best holiday experience….
    Kids & toys are the same, it’s the start of the brainwashing.

  • Emily

    I love what you’ve found! I’m the same with books. My mum got remarried after my dad died, and my stepsister sold a lot of our old books. I’ve spent a lot (a ridiculous amount, some might say!) of time trying to track down copies of all the same compendiums and collections.
    Thanks for hosting The Lounge. And thanks for accepting old posts! And if you don’t, let me know, because it means I’ve been breaking the rules!

    • robomum

      Of course we accept old posts! We’re interested in posts that fit the theme – that’s what’s important here.
      I feel for you wanting to track down those old books. You should put a call-out to the bloggers – I bet some people might have a few things you’d like just lying around. Thanks for linking X

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    It’s not just important it’s CRUCIAL they don’t become slaves to marketing because they will lose themselves and their identity and no longer be able to make choices without being led to them. I try and get used toys as well. This year we’re getting a big outside play/cubby and that’s it – NO TOYS, just a place they can use their imagination and be active x

  • Ed @ The Tunnel

    Any effort I make to romanticise my childhood is compromised by the large cupboard of my toys still at my parents’ place – many based on Saturday morning cartoons or advertised heavily during said programs. Sure, I played cricket and soccer but I had plenty of toys too. Not Super Copter though – it looks cool!

    • robomum

      That’s cool though. I’m happy for my kids to have merchy stuff – I just want them to understand that they don’t have to if something else appeals. Not sure if you’re a similar age to me but the Cartoon Connection era of cartoons was the bomb! hang onto your stuff – it might be worth something.

  • Kimberley Magain

    That’s awesome, RM. I’m the same, I get so sentimental for my own childhood – I’m bringing them up like I was brought up (apart from *ahem* the “wooden spoon”) It’s so hard, though, to maintain the integrity of getting them to appreciate where things come from when they are surrounded by “stuff” constantly. I think the consumerism and immediacy of everything is much more in your face these days than it was back in the 70s and 80s. Kx

  • laurenm83

    My husband and I are the same. We are trying to bring our boys up in a similar way to how we were raised. I want them to learn patience and gratitude when it comes to their possessions, and not take things for granted. Some of their favourite toys and books are items which used to belong to us!

  • Lara @ This Charming Mum

    That fire truck is cool! It’s really tough to get the balance right with kids. I hate disappointing them if they don’t get some of the things they insist they need, but I know it will be teaching them some good longer term values. Christmas is a struggle with the constant bombardment of advertising!

  • Bek Mugridge

    How cool is that vintage game! I remember my dad having one from the 70’s that plugged into the tv.
    I just love this post and your values, it is funny I have read this right after reading Natural New Age Mum’s DIY Christmas gift ideas! haha
    We don’t watch a lot of TV and when the kids do it is usually a dvd so they don’t see a lot of the ads and living where we do we don’t get junk mail so my two are not heavily influenced which is great and we always put a present or two under the kmart wishing tree to show them that there is always kids which much less and to be grateful for everything they do have already XXX.

  • Leanne Winter

    Robo, I just love this post – relate to it on so many levels. I also dream of a free-range childhood for my kids like the one I had and while I know it can’t be the same I do try to avoid helicopter parenting at all costs. And second hand shopping is my passion! There is pretty much nothing in the world you could want for (kids included) that doesn’t already exist and can be bought second hand. Better for the environment, better for your hip pocket and fantastic for teaching kids about limited resources and the value of money. (PS, I bought myself a whole heap of new clothes for work the other day all from the op shop, total cost $50, yay me!)

  • Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions

    I say Robomum I have to agree. And at the same time I struggle when I shop because all I want to do is buy all the cool things I see that I know Punky will love. But the lesson I am learning is that what she loves most is the simple things and spending time with me, so I am trying to focus on that this year and have limited the amount of Christmas presents we have bought for the girls. The big one we have gotten them is a swing set and I can’t wait to spend afternoon’s outside playing together.

  • NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad)

    We are the same – we don’t want Xmas to be about “Getting” stuff that they don’t need or use. Actually now that we live in a Motorhome our boys have so little toys because their is no space to put anything! We have kept their most treasured items in our shipping container but again our boys don’t need them! This Christmas we are going to be “Gifting” small items of clothing – they are in need of shorts and t-shirts. But as far as we are concerned Christmas is so over rated.
    We love Toys that have history behind them

  • yinyangmother

    What a fantastic post and sums up how I feel so perfectly. I took the kids to Pacific Fair today and it was a nightmare of consumerism – I don’t know where the Christmas spirit really fits in all of it. My son has to have a brown t-shirt for his kindy concert next Saturday and I tried Target, K-mart and Best and Less to no avail (did buy myself a pair of swimmers, which is a nightmare for me too, but we’re going on holidays next weekend so had to be done). I will have to fit in Christmas shopping at some stage but I’m with you on fewer good quality, sentimental and pre-loved things. As a society we are slaves to stuff.

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