It’s midnight and I am wide awake, rushing around the house with a bin bag, filling it with toys, toys, toys. Since Christmas, we have been drowning in “stuff, ” and it has been stifling.
So Little Cat had an almighty meltdown in the toy shop. Here is what we did about it…
Has your toddler found themselves lost and frightened in the emotions that come with overstimulation? How did you cope with the situation and help them through it?
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In a consumer driven world it is easy to see how we can get sucked in to the mindset of having to buy more and more for our children. There is a lot of pressure put on parents to aid their child’s development and challenge their cognitive abilities by purchasing the latest all singing, all dancing “educational” toy. And to top it all off, the advertisers have gone to great lengths to sink their claws directly into our little ones, to entice them into desiring their product and to ask for each and every item.
Though just five minutes before they were doing just fine without it, now it is a matter of life and death that they have this particular toy in their hands. Nothing less will do.
And yet, days, if not hours later, the toys all get forgotten, as the children turn their attention to the new enticing adverts for the things they don’t yet have.
It is a dangerous cycle, sending a strong message of consumerism, greed and waste to the mouldable young minds of our children.
But what should we as parents do? We don’t want to stunt their development and deny them learning opportunities, but it is obvious that this rampant consumerism is not working for either parent or child. The children complain that they have nothing to play with whilst surrounded by a room full of toys.
So What Toys Do Children Really Need?
My son has a new toy, an orange tractor which he is very proud of. He has very few toys (by comparison to typical western families) and I bought this on a whim when I saw how much he loved it, and his whole face lit up.
I work part-time as a childminder so every week children come to the house and play with “his” things. The evening before a little boy, (who I will call Josh for the purpose of this article) was due to come, my little boy held on tight to his tractor, quietly saying “Josh isn’t going to play with my tractor.”
Somewhere along the way, the secrets to a happy childhood seem to have become lost. Parents are filled with worry about all the things they could do better, all the things they wish they could afford for their children, or conversely, how nothing they give their child seems to bring a smile to their face. Parents notice that their children seem to have lost their spark, their faces dull and unhappy, a stream of complaints from their lips, never satisfied with what life has to offer.
But what do our children really need?
The truth is that the requirements for a happy childhood are not secrets at all, they just get overlooked due to their simplicity.
After all, the human race would never have come so far if the perceived complications we think our children need, were real.