The wonderful holiday season is upon us, a season filled with love, joy, family and if you have little ones, lots of toys from those family members who want to shower your baby with generosity. You might be just as excited shopping for your baby’s first Christmas or maybe your toddler is getting big enough to understand the magic of the season and this year’s Christmas list is full of surprises for them. Whatever the case, the American Academy of Pediatrics has just come out with new recommendations before you go down the toy aisle this season.
The new report titled Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era focuses on the type of toys parents and caregivers should give children from birth to school age.
With so many choices and toys marketed as “educational”, it can be difficult for parents to determine which toy is right for their young child and which ones can help children better develop their minds. According to the report, toys don’t need to be flashy, expensive or have some sort of screen. In this case, simple is better for playing and learning.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"] Via Essential Baby[/caption]
Keep in mind, toys are a crucial part of a baby’s life. They help develop a child’s brain, language interactions, problem-solving skills, and social interactions among a number of other factors. You don’t have to get the latest device, the coolest looking app, or anything flashing on a screen. Turns out the best toys are items that encourage parents and children to play and interact together. You can’t get that on a tablet or screen.
The report states that electronic toys by themselves don’t give children the stimulation and parental engagement that is key for healthy development. There are many children’s products like computer programs and specialized voice recorded books that may make claims about having educational benefits, but according to the authors of this report, those claims are unsubstantiated.
So what should you look for when you’re buying new toys for the holidays or any time of the year for that matter?
For babies keep it age appropriate and go basic. They don’t need a fancy baby gadget. The most important thing is to create a warm environment with supportive interactions to build nurturing relationships
Choose toys that will encourage your child to use their imagination dolls, animals, action figures can be a great option. Objects like toys planes, motor vehicles, and buildings can also be a great learning tool helping children learn new words.
Puzzles, blocks, and shapes can help develop new problem-solving skills.
Children’s books are a great gift too. They can use them to develop ideas, play pretend and use their imaginations.
For older kids, try to limit video games and screen times. AAP recommends children who are younger than 5 years should play with video games only if they are developmentally appropriate. They should be accompanied by the parent or caregiver.
For more information and ideas on what types of toys are appropriate, visit HealthyChildren.org.