Recently, Josh and I have started asking the friends and family who like to give gifts to our son to not give him electronic toys. We do actually have reasons for that request, and no, it’s not because we’re hipsters who think a superior child would be raised to use a typewriter instead of a computer. (I probably wouldn’t bother with a blog if we were.)
To clear things up, I decided to write this post.
Here are five reasons we ask you not to give our son electronic toys…
(And maybe even reasons to not give these toys to the children of your other friends, too.)
Reason #1: They’re annoying.
I’m starting with the most obvious reason. The singing, beeping, high-pitched voices, and constant loop of children’s nursery rhymes is enough to make any adult pull their hair and swear off of electronics forever.
Reason #2: He probably has too many already.
First of all, there are the toys that were given to him since the beginning, a few at a time. They came at a slow trickle, and like boiling frogs, we didn’t realize at first how many electronic toys we were being surrounded with. When we did, we were able to slowly start getting rid of some, but it is taking awhile, as don’t like to give anything away too quickly after it was gifted to us, to avoid hurting feelings.
Then there are the toys that arrived more recently, even after we started making this request, because the generous people in our son’s life are human, and they forget.
Reason #3: They might be hindering his development.
Very little imagination and abstract thinking are needed to play with the electronics marketed towards babies and toddlers. The toy does everything for you, or has built-in games so you don’t have to come up with your own. Some research suggests that imaginative play is important to a child’s development, and helps teach social and problem solving skills.
Reason #4: They’re addictive.
Just having an even number of both traditional and modern toys isn’t enough, because when our son gets his hands on an electronic, he is so sucked in by the excitement of the noise and the flashing that he refuses to play with any other toys. He ceases to even notice anything going on around him. I’m not a child psychology expert, but I know that can’t be healthy.
Reason #5: They’re overstimulating.
As the offspring of two parents with ADHD, our is likely prone to sensory-seeking behaviors. Before we knew what was happening and started making an effort to reduce the number of talking, singing, dancing, and flashing toys in his daily life, he was always acting bored and understimulated when he wasn’t playing with something electronic. His toys were teaching him to expect to be constantly entertained, so he just didn’t know what to do with him when he couldn’t have instant entertainment on hand.
Those are the five reasons we’re trying to tone down the influence of electronic toys in our son’s daily life. If you know us personally, thank you for understanding and being considerate of that preference. To anyone else who may be reading: Please let me know if there’s anything I missed, or if you know of any other good sources for learning about this topic.
Thank you for reading!