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All parents will agree that the most precious thing in our lives are our children and we would do anything to ensure their wellbeing, safety and development, but are we consciously taking this into consideration when choosing the toys we allow our children to play with?
Nowadays children are exposed to technologically advanced toys with a high focus on academic development from a very young age. This has the potential to inhibit creative and imaginative play which is proving to be detrimental to their brain development and can lead to health, behavioural and learning difficulties and their ability to relate and problem solve in the real world. There is also a trend towards mass produced, inexpensive plastic toys that are poorly designed and break easily and are potentially toxic for our children and the environment. It’s vitally important that parents are aware of these dangers and choose toys that are appropriate for their mental and physical development and are safe for their children and the environment.
Over the past 100 years our society has become overly focused on achievement and success and the sense of competition starts very young. As parents we wish to give our children every possible advantage in life and don’t want them to get left behind so we feel the pressure to develop their academic learning at the baby/ toddler stage. Unfortunately this inhibits their brains ability to develop imaginative and creative ways in which to play, and for young children it is through developing imagination that they learn to gain knowledge.
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Many electronic and computerised toys tend to ask all the questions and tell the child what they need to know and the child learns to memorise the answers rather than find their own solutions. Toys that encourage open ended play in which children have to make up their own stories and express their inner world through imaginative and creative play are far more likely to cultivate their intellectual, emotional and social skills.
Early exposure to technology and hand held devices has also been proven to cause a number of physical and psychological health problems for children including ADD, cognitive delays, impaired learning and decreased ability to self regulate. It can also contribute to developmental delays, childhood obesity, mental illness, aggression
and addiction, not to mention the effect that radiation emissions from devices are having on their developing brains.
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For all of these reasons it is highly advisable for children between the ages of 0-2 to have very little exposure to hand held devices and toys created for academic development. Toys should be play based, and encourage learning through imagination and storytelling.
Even the smartest kids love to play, and although they might be good at educational games, they can also be enormously stimulated with toys that are just plain fun!
Remember, the most important person in your child’s life is YOU…and no toy can ever replace that.