A 20th-century celebrity, an advice columnist Abigail
Van Buren once said: “If you want your children
to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them as half as much money.”
first step is to stop thinking in terms of your childhood.
example, you had the abundance of toys and you want the same treatment for your
child. Think twice and read on.
same goes for those less fortunate who now want to (over)compensate for their
lack of material stuff. Yet, toys cannot replace love and affection.
you ask a kid, they’d always want more. But catering to their wants will for
sure spoil the child. On the other hand, catering to their needs runs deeper.
Eventually, your child will grow grounded and confident.
Plan in advance
advisable to start thinking about toys in pregnancy.
about what type of parenting you incline toward (attachment, traditional or
imagine what type of play you are about to make room for- will you read to your
child from day one? Will you play music CDs? Will you prefer wooden toys to
plastic ones? Will you allow electronic devices or are you wary of them?
people opt for a nanny early on. The process of finding the right person is
stressful itself, taking up all of your energy. You don’t have time to think
about play and entertainment.
are a few options to minimize the stress though- agree with your closest
friends to help you search or put up a list of what you look for in a nanny.
option is to hire a childcare professional. There are a lot of reputable
agencies which offer premiere childcare,
such as the UK/ London governess agency. This agency
makes sure you are satisfied and more importantly, safe with your choice. And
we know how much the inner peace costs- oftentimes it’s priceless.
Toys or People?
more humans engage with the kids, the better for them.
that have a lot of buttons, change colors and sing will definitely catch your
baby’s attention. But in the long run, it’s not the best idea.
toys are fast, flashy and noisy, and your child’s brain is small and not
accustomed to that, but it gets addicted to the stimuli.
the baby will need a lot of this, because habits form quickly. And it’s bad for
the brain’s development.
thing, you’ll have to buy all the toys in a department store with the same
characteristics, just a different shape, because the baby will want more of
there enough storage space in your house for 5 push toys that look the same?
here are a few hints for how to choose toys.
and moderation are the key spices
is how it goes- your child gets a toy (be it a plush toy, a truck, a doll, or a
book) and they’re thrilled. Fun time- yay! How long their joy and interest
lingers may vary.
usually depends on their age, combined with their temperament, mood, the level
of exposure to electronic devices (the less their brain is accustomed to fast
input, the better the chances for them to learn to play with the “slow” toys)
and the toy itself.
let’s presume they love that horsey and are happy to spend time with it. Or the
farm sound book. They press the buttons happily, imitate sounds, smile, laugh,
and read it over and over again.
is when you think- oh maybe I should get them another book or toy from the same
series- if they played eagerly with the brown horse, they must be head over
heels for a yellow one with a longer mane.
there’s nothing wrong with having lots of books (au contraire!), be
careful not to buy all of them at once or in a shorter period, because this is
the quickest way to make them lose interest in all of them.
The more toys- the less creative a child
hinder creativity. According to the study
in “Infant Behaviour and Development” at the University of Toledo,
US, if you give a kid 16 toys, they will play with about half of them. But if
you give them 4, they will play with 3! And it’s not only about the quantity,
it’s about the quality of play. Also, they played longer when they had fewer
your child plays just with the toys with their obvious purpose- e.g. a toy
kitchen, it may cripple their creativity. Instead, try including your kid in
real-life, age-appropriate activities in your kitchen.
instance, you chop the pepper and let your kid place it in a casserole. Or if
you have more time, pour different edible colors in an ice container and freeze
it. Then let the kid have fun. This is also a good way to help them learn
important life skills.
most creative toys are the ones that don’t have the “shape”- like blocks. Or
crayons, paper, dough, etc. Your child
is free to make their castle, house, train, etc. The aim is to make them think
and express creatively.
Attention! There goes their attention!
more toys, the shorter the attention span. As a parent of an ADHD kid has put
it: “An uncluttered
environment begets an uncluttered mind”, which is a
far cry from cool, calm and collected you are striving for.
have to consider ecology and our environment as well. If a toy is used for
months, and then is handed-down, cool- it’s not a waste. But toys of a lesser
quality that break easily and cannot be up-cycled are a plain waste.
have in mind that we need to leave this planet for our kids. They may want
another doll or a car, but do they really need them?
in all, a free, unstructured play is the holy grail of a thriving child. Take
them out for a hike, put them in a sandpit, encourage them to climb and slide,
read along with them, every day. Toys will be in the picture, but not as much.
They won’t replace the child’s need for connection with other humans, both
adults and kids.
lot of toys will just confuse them and shorten their natural short attention
span and hinder imagination. Do you want that?
…AuthorBio: Anne Harris is an
HR specialist working for londongoverness.com. She recruits nannies, governesses and other childcare professionals,
ensuring top-notch services for parents worldwide. In her free time she likes
reading about education, and children’s welfare, as well as visiting sports