Tips for Buying Toys: It is said that history will judge humankind by the difference we make in children’s everyday lives. Although in most cases, you do not have to bring in history or mankind to get anxious or excited while choosing something for your child. Children mean the world to their parents, and we always try to get the best for them, be it food, be it clothes, be it anything, we need the best when it is for our little one.
The importance of toys in the life of your little one is obviously significant. It is through playing and laughing; they learn the most. The toys you choose for your child determines the way they start thinking and start seeing the world in a huge manner. So obviously, choosing a toy for your child is an important decision to make.
But no one is trained on parenting or how to choose what’s best for their kid. There’s no user’s guide or manual book when it comes to children. That’s okay because if you do have the will to find out how to decide what is the best for your child, you very certainly can.
American Academy of Pediatrics had published an article on tips to parents for choosing the right toy for their kids. So even though you might not know everything already, you can find out what you need to know by reading this article that discusses AAPs suggestions and tips on “How to choose the right toys for kids?”
Types of Toys
1. Personal Toys
( Dolls, Teddy Bears, Action Figures, etc.)
This category of Toys focuses on the Imaginative and emotional development of children. By getting your child a cabbage patch doll or a teddy or their favorite animated character’s action figure ( be it a barbie doll, a Ben10 action figure, etc. ), not only do you give your child a toy, but you also give them a new friend.
By pretending to talk with, play with, and even have small fights with these imaginary friends of theirs, your children develop several important skills and grow on an emotional level. This may help children socialize in school and with their peers easily and more effectively.
2. Constructional / Problem Solving Toys
( Educational Toys, Building Blocks, Puzzles, etc. )
This category of toys augments the development of your child’s critical thinking and problem-solving abilities as well as some mathematical abilities. When your child works with building blocks of different colors, not only do they build things they like, they start learning how to use their hands to fit blocks together.
Also, they will learn to make different shapes by fixing up building blocks and how certain things can be put together as well as how certain things can not be put together. By allowing children to start by solving such small tasks or problems, you allow your children to get ready for even advanced learning as well as enjoy themselves.
3. Artistic Toys
( Paint, Paintbrushes, Crayons, Painting Books, Coloring Books, etc. )
As soon as you put the word paint or crayons next to kids, it is understandable if you as a parent start thinking about messed up walls or paint on the couch, bed, and everywhere around you in your home.
Although, colors make up a very important part of your child’s / children’s development. Getting accustomed to the use of crayons, pencils, and paintbrushes, helps kids develop a good grip and teach them the basics of hand grips, handwriting, and a lot more.
Moreover, by providing such toys, your kid starts to associate the colors with the names of the colors as well as associate colors with objects. Also, if your child is a future artist, who knows? You may even be able to discover your child’s artistic side by just getting them some good artistic toys or just a coloring set!
4. Conceptual and Lingual Toys
( Storybooks, Board Games, Card Games, etc.)
When it comes to this category of toys, it’s not just the bedtime story that matters or makes an impact. A talking tom doll or a “first words talking” book can also help your child’s linguistic development in a major way.
While storybooks also introduce kids to a lot of new words as well as stories that help the kids develop their imaginative skills, other talking dolls and books with a voice assistant or such toys give repeated reinforcement to your kids, which will significantly help them learn new words and develop speaking skills.
5. Physical Activity Toys
( Tricycles, Throw Balls, etc.)
Toys that demand kids to be physically active, move, and discover their bodies’ abilities are significantly important to your child’s emotional, physical, and overall well-being. Not only does this help your kid’s health and wellness, but it also helps to develop team-building skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and so much more, as many such activities involve making teams and socializing.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Shopping for Toys
1. Keep an Open Mind, But Also be Careful
It is totally all right to be a bit skeptical of any toy labeling that promises to be “educational.” The fact is that the majority of “educational” tablets, computer games, and programs are not.
The majority of “educational” apps, such as the alphabet and shapes or figures, are designed to improve memory. These abilities are only one aspect of preparing for school. The abilities required to study and succeed in school (and in life) include impulse and emotion management and the development of innovative and flexible thinking.
Unstructured and social play with family and friends is the greatest way to learn them. According to research, digital toys, such as tablets may actually retard the social development of newborns and young children because they lack real-life facial expressions, gestures, and vocalization.
2. Say No to Stereotyping
Times have changed, people have changed, so have the toys for children. But it is important to understand that toys can make a huge impact on your kid’s attitude, mentality, personality, and beliefs. So, try not to give toys that promote gender stereotypes or racial stereotypes to your children.
Kitchen sets are not exclusively for girls; racing cars are not just for boys. We have enough female police officers in our world, we have male nurses, we have barbie and ken, we have all kinds of genders and races, and no doll or toy that promotes stereotypes should be made available to your child.
3. Limit Exposure
You should limit the amount of time your kids spend playing video games and computer games, no matter how important or helpful they are to your child’s development and learning. Total screen time, including television and computer use, should be less than one or a maximum of two hours per day for children over the age of two and should be avoided for children under the age of two.
Children under the age of five should only be permitted to play developmentally appropriate video and computer games, and it is even better if they do so only under the supervision of a parent or caregiver as these years are extremely important in the developmental years of a child.
It is never a bad idea to be with your kid while he or she is playing or learning. Spending more time with your kids helps them learn a lot of skills and abilities, and at the same time, it helps you to stay informed about and keep track of your child’s development.
Now, with all that said, one final question that you can ask yourself before buying a toy for your kid is, “Would my kid get to play this with me and enjoy it ?” because in the end, you are the best teacher, the best friend, and the best playmate, your child can get.
American Academy of Pediatrics: www.aap.org