Thursday, May 1, 2008

The toys are back in town

Kids love new toys. The love affair usually only lasts 3 minutes, but they love them. We, as adults, tend to have similar short-lived infatuation with whatever we’re bombarded with on commercials and billboards. The one that comes to mind recently is the $200 robot being peddled to the somewhat-informed public to promote Disney/Pixar’s new moneymaker, “Wall-E.” Sure, I’m looking forward to watching the flick, for reasons that are probably the exact same as why kids are so excited for it. We’ve seen the commercials, read the ads, and visited the make-believe robot shopping website. It appears as though times have changed, that we buy the toys and learn of the characters prior to seeing the movie. People thought consumerism and marketing were bad enough when Star Wars memorabilia hit the public 30 years ago. Now we buy the merchandise before we get a chance to watch the movie and fall in love with it.
So should we buy our kids the toys they see in commercials? If we ourselves can live outside the hype and enjoy it with our children, sure. If not, they’ll live without them. I promise.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

reading is fundamental

I couldn't count the number of times I've told someone, "reading is the best thing you could do with your child." On the technical side, it fosters creativity, develops imagination, increases vocabulary, and when done properly, makes it so you never have to force a child to sit down to teach them something, because they've already learned it in a book and the subsequent interactions that stem from co-reading. I've been asked, and had to ponder for myself: "Which book?" Sure, there are the classics, from Chicka-Chicka boom-boom (and ABC) to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. However, with some exceptions, anything you read to/with a child will be beneficial on most levels, and deleterious on very, very few. I tend to shy away from Disney books (or any other books with corporate agendas) and books that claim to help you teach your child (most of that happens naturally), but most books are fair game.

"Age-appropriate" is a term that gets used quite liberally, and for good reason. Focusing on materials (or clothes or words) that are age-appropriate ensures that we maximize a child's development through a certain activity, but no one in the world is surrounded with only "age-appropriate" things, and society still operates just fine (not really, but that's not an issue to be solved on a blog).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To nap or not to nap

There has been much back-and-forth as to whether children should nap. Some argue that children need the time to "recharge (which is neurologically, and perhaps physiologically, debatable)," while others fuss over the age in which children actually outgrow the need to nap. Some preschools write naptime into their schedule, while others avoid it or make it optional (to the parent and/or the child). How to answer the question? it Jeopardy style, and respond with another question: Do you? If you like the occasional nap, your child probably will too. If you like your siestas at the same time everyday, that might also work for children. The notion that I'm hoping to hammer home with this blog is the fact that, if it works for us as adults, children should probably receive the same treatment.

My first time

My first, and hopefully not last, post. Millions of 1-post blogs probably exist on the internet, taking up all of our valuable worle-wide-web-space, never to be seen again...chalk it up to disinterest, busy-ness, run-on sentences, over-use of dashes, or unsatisfaction, but many-a-blog start out so passionate, so extreme, so dedicated to their cause, yet fall by the wayside. Welcome to the next website trying to curb the trend. I value your precious websurfing time, so without delay, I bring you, the place that believes that there are, in actuality, no difficult children, but children who respond to adults who have made things difficult on themselves...once adults realize that children aren't much different from fellow adults, life with children tends to become more fulfilling, more gratifying, and no longer difficult.