Parents’ Role in Choosing the Right Toys for Children
As parents, we all want our kids to grow a lot better and more successful than we have ever been. Nothing is more fulfilling for a parent than seeing his or her child make a name for himself or herself in this world. And while there are plenty of tools we can use to help mold our children’s future, nothing can really compare to the developmental benefits of toys. You see, the best way for children to really learn about their surroundings and themselves is through play. And what better way to have truly beneficial play than using highly appropriate and developmentally-relevant toys? This is why the role of parents in choosing the right toys for children is very important.
How You Can Choose the Right Type of Toy for Your Kids
When you choose toys for your kids, most of us would simply look at what is cool and trendy. Sometimes, we often base our decisions on what our children’s friends have or even what our colleagues at work have for their kids. While this may work for some, it clearly does not answer the developmental needs of our children. When we talk about toys, we always have to look at how well our children will benefit from these playthings not only in terms of having plenty of fun but also in terms of their growth and development potential.
Choosing the right type of toys for your kids should be pretty straightforward. Here are some tips on how you can be more selective in the toys that you buy and give to your child.
Learn a bit about child development.
You don’t actually need to have a degree in developmental psychology to understand the basics of child growth and development. There are plenty of resources both online and offline that provide excellent information about what to expect for each particular age of children. MyKidNeedsThat, for instance, provides helpful bits of information about the different developmental tasks that can be expected from a child of any given age.
But why is this necessary, you may ask? Well, the needs of a 2 month old baby is entirely different from one who is already in his or her 2ndyear of life or even in his 1stdecade. The point is that each of these life stages is characterized by developmental patterns that have been considered the norm throughout the ages. While you may think that this is stereotyping children, it does provide a very good measure and understanding if our kids are growing like majority of other kids.
For instance, it is expected that a 9 month old baby will already be able to start pulling himself or herself up to stand. Some may even begin initiating to walk independently, albeit in small steps. However, if your 9 month old baby is still pretty much rolling on his or her tummy and still cannot find the strength to really sit down on his or her crib, then wouldn’t you think that there is something that is not right with your kid? Of course, this is just one aspect of children’s growth and development. There are other areas that need to be understood so that we will be in a much better position to care for our children.
If this is quite tedious for you, then you can learn the developmental milestones of your child one stage at a time. For example, if your child is only 3 months old now, then you might want to read only on the developmental milestones of 3 or 4 month old babies. This gives you an idea of what toy will be most beneficial to them.
Identify the features of the toys you choose.
In choosing a toy, or any other item for that matter, it is important to look at the features. However, what is more important is the benefit that your kid can derive from using this particular feature. So, it is imperative that you associate a feature with one very unique benefit. For instance, if the toy says that it can play a variety of musical tones, then the obvious benefit will be in stimulating your kid’s sensory development particularly in the growth and development of the juvenile brain.
Correlate the toy’s features with the developmental needs of your kid.
Once you have identified the feature and understood its inherent benefit, you will now have to compare this to the developmental needs of your kid. What you would like to achieve is a match between the product’s features and benefits to the developmental milestones, tasks, or needs of children.
Always look at the safety of the toy.
One very important aspect in the selection of a toy for our kids is the safety of these products. You have to understand that kids are particularly vulnerable to play- and toys- related injuries because of their insufficient understanding of the concept of safety or their inherent reflexive behaviors or both. A 3 month old baby, for example, is pretty much known for having an excellent raking grasp which he or she uses to grab onto things. Unfortunately, part of this reflex is the action that comes next: whatever he or she has in his or her hands will eventually be sent to his or her mouth. If the object is clean and larger than his or her mouth, then it won’t really cause any concern. However, if the object is very small or is quite dirty, then you may have a problem at hand. Your baby might choke if he or she swallows the small object or that he or she will get an infection. Either way, we can consider very small objects to be particularly dangerous to very young children.
There are also toys that either run on electricity or powered by batteries. Playing with electronic devices is never really a good idea especially when talking about kids’ safety. That is why it is often imperative that the electronic toys we choose must be tested and certified by appropriate agencies such as Underwriters Laboratories or UL as well as other testing and certification organizations. You don’t want a toy that might explode right on your kid’s face.
Looking at an Example
To give you an idea of how we choosing an appropriate toy, let us try to review the VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker. If we are going to examine this particular walker, it says that the Sit-to-Stand is designed primarily for babies and young children aged 9 months to 3 years of age.
Now, let us try to understand the developmental milestones of kids of this age. A 9 month old baby should already be able to pull himself or herself up to stand either with your support or while holding on to a stable structure. They should also be able to start initiating steps. By around 1 year, they have already mastered walking, albeit in a wobbly manner. This is where the walker is highly beneficial. Because it comes with a very wide base and easy-roll wheels, you can be confident that your baby will have a sturdy platform to hold onto while initiating and mastering those critical first steps.
Babies and young children of this age are also beginning to form conceptualizations of the things around them. They learn different colors, shapes, numbers, sounds, and other sensory information that their young brains will be processing. The VTech’s interactive buttons, spinners, piano keys, and play telephone as well as other items are all designed to meet the cognitive development needs of young children. These tools help provide the necessary background for the developing brain to start integrating these various pieces of information to become the foundation of children’s problem solving, language, memory, and speech and communication skills.
On the safety aspect, the battery compartment of the VTech walker cannot be easily pried open by any child. The other electrical components are also UL-certified. Additionally, there are no small parts that can be ingested or swallowed by very small children. The wide and stable stance of the walker also helps provide for a safer walking platform for any kid.
Technically, this is how moms and dads today need to approach their choice of toys for their kids. We know it’s quite tedious but, we also know that you only want the best for your children. So, why not really make the effort of choosing a toy that is really appropriate for their developmental needs?
How A Website Like MyKidNeedsThat.com can Help
We know how frustrating it can be to have to learn all the things about child growth and development that are relevant to your kids and your choice of toys for them. That’s why MyKidNeedsThat.com was formally established to help educate parents on how to make more sensible choices for the care of their children, whether it is toys or other children’s products. The team of researchers there always make sure that the products shared are developmentally appropriate for any age group and that these are guaranteed safe to play with. At the very least, all you’ll ever need to do is to choose from among their great selection of products and your kid will surely have a toy that is safe and is right for his or her developmental age.
You can view the full selection of toys on their site, by visiting https://www.mykidneedsthat.com