You’re surrounded by hundreds of little parts, and the directions
might as well have been written in Greek. To put it all together
successfully — and save your sanity:
Avoid the all-nighter
Don’t wait until the night before the big holiday to assemble the
100-piece train set. Start at least a week ahead of time to recover
from the inevitable: missing parts, incomprehensible directions,
toy malfunctions. This way, if you just can’t make it work, you can
return it to the store and get one that does. Worried your little
sleuths might find their holiday booty? Ask a neighbor if you can
slip assembled toys into her basement until it’s time to present
Take your time
You think it’ll take no longer than 45 minutes to put the
threestory dollhouse together? Yeah, right! Double your estimated
time so that you won’t feel the crunch. Even better: Read all of
the directions before you start so you’re clear about what goes
where, and then actually follow them.
Have packs of batteries in different sizes and voltages on hand.
Put them, along with your most-used tools — Phillips and standard
screwdrivers, hammer, pliers, scissors, electric drill — in a bin
that’s accessible to you so that they’ll be at your fingertips when
you’re ready to put the toys together.
Make it ready-to-play
Don’t expect your toddler to be happy with castle parts. Assemble
everything ahead of time, unless you plan to do it together after
the big day. For toys that don’t need assembly, give your child
easier access by removing those annoying plastic ties that hold
them in the box before you wrap the gift.
Face it: Not all of us have the time and patience to put together
a complicated toy. But some stores will assemble larger, more
difficult items for you, if you’re willing to fork over the extra
bucks — for example, Toys “R” Us charges between $10 and $20,
depending on the toy.