Piles of books on parenting, boxes full of educational toys, and eco-friendly snacks; new parents do not hesitate to spend a fortune to provide a bright start to their little ones. Soon after birth, though, tablets and screen time slowly take over wooden toys and baby yoga classes. As a matter of fact, tech gadgets and chocolate often help Mom and Dad tame their screaming toddler. Bear in mind, though, even the newest smartphone or the most liked social media post can’t replace the hormonal boredom that settles into preteens and teens.
Although play is vital, parents often worry about keeping their children busy and entertained all at the same time. Luckily, there’s a wide range of activities to keep kids happy, even without leaving the house. From drawing and modeling Play-doh to playing hide-and-seek and video games, parents can easily engage and bond with their little bundle of joy. Because, as the famous psychologist Vygotsky said, "In play, a child is always above his average age, above his daily behavior; in play, it is as though he were a head taller than himself."
That said, there are some questionable ways parents are entertaining their kids. While some parents let their children engage in risky viral challenges, others impose social stereotypes through simple board games. Even popular Disney films raise some alarming concerns. Yet, the most questionable parenting technique is that of depriving children of their most basic right: the right to play.
20 Bird Box Challenge: YouTube Challenges Are Becoming An Epidemic
Starving zombies, dark shadows, and thinking machines: post-apocalyptic movies can be unnerving. Yet, there’s something more thrilling than the big screen: YouTube challenges, of course! Psychologists claim that such viral trends are dangerous.
The Bird Box challenge is one of the most questionable ways to entertain kids. Based on Netflix’s blockbuster Bird Box, this YouTube challenge has become an epidemic. In an attempt to escape from a mystical force, Sandra Bullock and her kids must keep their eyes covered at all costs. Being blindfolded in real-life, though, can cause real havoc. As serious accidents and car crashes can happen, do not blindly follow what you see.
19 Too Much Screen Time Can Have A Negative Impact On Child Development
Parenting advice is like rusty nails; words get hammered into a parent’s heart and wounds become poisonous. While doctors, friends, and strangers claim that reading and playing with wooden toys is all kids need, parents know that screen time can be fun. According to PBS, in the US, kids (0-8 years) use screen media for over two hours every single day.
Although we are living in a tech-driven society, with lots of educational shows, experts claim that too much screen time can have a negative impact on child development. Screen time before bedtime, for instance, can backfire and lead to insomnia and excessive crying. Mind you, turning the TV off also leads to screams!
18 Resource For Infants Educarers And Celeb Parents
While many parents wonder how to make their kids happy, some moms and dads adopt more questionable ways to entertain their little ones. Many celeb parents have embraced the trendy parenting approached called RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers). According to Vanity Fair, RIE methods teach parents to stop treating children like children.
Instead of letting children play, many RIE parents teach their infants manners. In fact, RIE expert Deborah Solomon says that kids do not need any toys, rattles, or baby talk. Although baby talk is a vital way of learning and bonding, perhaps silver cutlery is more suitable for celeb babies.
17 The Game Of Life: Social Norms Can Be Confining
Get married, buy a house, have kids! People all over the world are living in a society where traditional markers of adulthood define success. The Game of Life, the US's first parlor game, is a wonderful game to help players go through their imaginary life. Note that the original version of the game was created in 1860.
Yet, almost 160 years later, parents should rethink the way they entertain their kids. Social norms can be confining, so children have the right to voice their dreams. Especially girls who are often pressured to get married and have kids! After all, life is more than a game. Mind you, you can't reset your life to the beginning!
16 Monopoly: It's All About The Almighty Dollar
Board games can be fun. According to Bead.Game, board games can boost a person’s cognitive abilities and self-confidence; they can also bring family and friends together. What's more, board games can help parents entertain a child who’s sick home. Monopoly, for instance, is a wonderful game. With a wide range of versions, from Star Wars to Junior Monopoly is a classic.
Yet, this property trading game is a questionable form of entertainment. Playing Monopoly teaches kids that the almighty dollar is all they need, especially if they go to jail. With the rocketing cost of living across the US, though, Monopoly can be quite handy.
15 Where's Waldo? Or How To Become A Peeper
Where’s Waldo? Waldo is everywhere. There's no doubt that visual puzzles are stimulating, fun, and exciting. Interestingly, the original children’s puzzle books Where’s Wally became a huge success across the globe. According to Mental Floss, the British name 'Wally' was changed to 'Waldo' for the US release. The name Waldo has become a synonym of anything that’s impossible to find.
While boosting a young child’s attention and concentration is wonderful, there is a more subtle meaning to this popular game. In an era where social media channels collect sensitive private information, parents do not need little stalkers. Unless you want to get a restraining order, let’s keep Waldo’s whereabouts a secret!
14 No Mess, No Creativity
Parenthood comes with Lego blocks on the floor, piles of laundry, and stains on… frankly, the stains are everywhere. Playing is a normal part of child development, so letting kids create a mess is fine. According to Very Well Family, making a mess is beneficial – it boosts a child’s curiosity and motor skills. (Note: clean up should always follow play.)
Therefore, one of the most questionable ways to entertain kids is to keep them neat and clean. Experts claim that parents should let children play with everyday tools as well, which will help them explore their surroundings. After all, the whole world is a colorful playground.
13 Mall Madness For Little Shopaholics
Shopping (in moderation) can be therapeutic. According to Psychology Today, more than 50% of people in the US admit to enjoying retail therapy. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the popular board game Mall Madness and its electronic version are still a huge success. However, there’s some funny business about reinforcing materialism.
Oh, and let’s not forget about all those stereotypical covers: pictures of perky girls with credit cards. In fact, many companies diminish girls. In 1966, Selchow and Righter created a game to help girls choose a professional path. The options were limited, of course: a teacher hostess, model, dancer, and a nurse.
12 Walt Disney Movies Have A Hidden Meaning
Cinema is a form of art. Colors, music, and moral – anything is possible. Although books inspire a child’s imagination and language skills, movies and TV shows are like a feast for the senses. According to the University of Michigan, children (2-5 years) spend more than 32 hours a week watching videos and playing games.
Walt Disney, in particular, revolutionized cinema and made animations feature-length. Let’s admit it — everyone loves Disney movies! However, some movies are questionable. Lovable Mickey Mouse, for instance, is a shout-out to the minstrel shows popular in the 19th century. These shows consisted of acts that depicted people of another descent. Many movies in this time enforced close-minded stereotypes.
11 Over-Stimulation In Infants Can Be Harmful
Children need a stimulating environment to thrive and flourish. They enjoy rattles, books, music, and soft toys. On top of that, kids are like sweet sponges - they need social interactions to acquire vital emotional and learning skills. While parents all over the globe want the best for their loved ones, some moms and dads take entertainment to a different level.
In an attempt to entertain their little one, new parents expose their baby to a wild variety of stimuli, 24/7. Dangling toys in front of a young child can lead to overstimulation and strong feelings, though. After all, kids also need some quiet time; just like you, mama!
10 Ouija Board For Spooky Parents
It doesn’t matter if there’s an afterlife or not, kids simply love ghosts. Ghosts are invisible, ghosts can walk through walls, ghosts can fly – three wonderful qualities! What else do you need to steal chocolate muffins? Nevertheless, Ouija boards for kids can be spooky.
According to The 13th Floor.tv, the Ouija board was introduced as a talking board, designed to communicate with the dead. In 1890, the Ouija board became more accessible. Films and companies turned the spirit board into a game marketed for kids. There are even pink spiritual portals on the market. As one can guess, the pink boards target little girls. How creepy is that?
9 Hidden Apps And Cybersecurity
In our tech-driven world, many parents use apps and multimedia tools to entertain their kids. Yet, cybersecurity is one of the main concerns moms and dads have. From social media companies that share personal data with third-parties to individuals who spy on people, technology is a double-edged sword.
To set an example, the Internet exploded after the release of the Blue Whale challenge. The Blue Whale challenge is a dare-based game that has a sinister nature. The trend started on a Russian social media channel asking players to complete life-threatening tasks. Sadly, this phenomenon is not a Black Mirror episode but a real "game."
8 Video Games Can Lead To Behavioral Changes
Video game play is a great way to entertain kids, games can boost a child’s thinking, coordination, and fine motor skills. Today’s games and graphics are more than impressive. Yet, not all games are about building cute snail farms or running a restaurant. Some video games are aggressive and questionable.
According to Psychology Today, video game play is active and reinforces aggressive behavior. It’s not a secret that players get rewards for hurting an enemy. In addition, studies show that video games decrease helping behavior, which can lead to behavioral changes. Who knows? Maybe Fortnite, the most popular game today, teaches the wrong lessons.
7 Hiring A Teen Babysitter
Parenting is the world’s hardest job, people say. Mom and dad must be available 24/7, 365 days a year; no sick days, no vacation days, no promotion. Believe it or not, even the most loving parent needs some time off. Well, hiring a babysitter is a great solution for when parents go out.
Although hiring a teen sitter is still a common practice, parents should not hire a babysitter whose only role is to entertain kids. Babysitting is not a joke, and responsibilities always come before laughter. As expert Debra Holtzman told Care.com, "The key attributes to look for are maturity, trustworthiness, and responsibility".
6 Delayed Gratification In Kids
Kids are adorable. It’s no surprise parents give their kids everything they want. Beyoncé and Jay-Z, for instance, spent $80,000 on a Barbie doll for their daughter Blue Ivy. On the other hand, parents buy toys and candy to prevent tantrums in public.
While handling a tantrum is tricky, pleasing kids is a questionable technique to handle meltdowns. In fact, according to Psychology Today, delayed gratification is beneficial in the long-term. Delayed gratification is the ability to resist an instant reward to receive a larger one later. It leads to better self-regulation and social skills. Just wait and instead of one marshmallow, you’ll get two, mama!
5 Nursery Rhymes Have A Hidden Meaning
Music is vital for child development. Songs and lullabies help children acquire language skills, a sense of rhythm, and creativity. In fact, music helps fetus development already in the womb. While singing to a newborn is soothing, a lot of old nursery rhymes have a darker meaning.
Just like with some Walt Disney movies, nursery rhymes can have a hidden meaning. According to Mental Floss, sweet songs, such as "Goosey Goosey Gander," "Ring Around the Rosies," "Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe," and "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" are not so kid-friendly. "Ring Around the Rosies," for instance, refers to the Great Plague of London, England.
4 Pranks Gone Too Far
All parents love pranks. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a kid surprised and amused all at the same time. Yet, some parents take pranks too far.
According to NY Times, a Maryland couple played weird pranks on their kids and posted the videos online. With more than 760,000 subscribers, the couple got way too obsessed with their sick jokes and posted videos of accusing, belittling, and making their kids cry. The pranks spread criticism, and two of the children were placed in the custody of their biological mother. Although the couple apologized for posting the videos online, the joke was completely on them.
3 Gender Stereotypes In The Toy Box
Kids all over the world are just the same: they simply love jokes, toys, and games. When gender roles are forced on kids, though, boys and girls start developing stereotypes at a young age. Thus, gender equality should start at home… from the toy fox.
Toys have no gender. While gender identification is vital, experts agree that gendered toys simply limit a child’s creativity and programmed their thinking later in life. Not all boys want to play with trucks, not all girls want to play with pink tea sets. Stereotypes lead to numerous social and behavioral problems later in life.
2 Extra Classes Can Be Tiring
We all want the best for our kids and sometimes we may become a bit too pushy. French lessons after school? Swimming at the weekend? Baby yoga before breakfast? Children today are way too busy, which deprives them of the most essential marker of childhood: play. Experts claim that lack of time for play can have negative effects later in life.
While extra classes can teach kids various self-regulation and social skills, not all classes are entertaining. Parents should understand that projecting desires and fears onto children is unhealthy. Do all kids have to be masters in violin playing, Latin and soccer all at the same time?
1 The Importance Of Play In Healthy Development
After all, kids are just kids; they simply need some time to play and laugh. The importance of play is essential. Toys, books, and stimulating environments help infants explore their surroundings and develop basic social skills. Imaginative play, on the other hand, boosts creativity and imagination. According to Psychology Today, imaginary friends also play a crucial role in a child’s development. We should note that playtime is not only for little kids; even teens need some time to play.
Although manners and responsibilities matter, one of the most questionable ways to entertain kids is to treat them as adults. As famous psychologist, Jean Piaget says, "Play is the work of childhood."