Early on in my time as a parent, I believed I had the whole thing cracked – it was easy! I just had to buy my kids presents, wash, feed and clothe them, and treat them well. Simple, right?
Well, that was until gadgets started to come into the children’s development scene as well. Today I am stuck between picking between gadgets, and “real” toys. The dilemma is simple – do I want my kids to be using technology from a young age? Or do I want them to miss out on an amazing experience to keep them grounded in the real world?
Many of my younger family members like my nephews were raised on video games. Whilst my kids are being given a mix, the one thing I could never decide upon was what was best. Well, I’ve done some extra planning and prep to work it out and have concluded that;
- Most children seem to get more from using a traditional toy for development. They seem to get more out of using the “real” toy as it’s more human to them. In a gadget they won’t talk to the software and the won’t treat it like it’s alive. Give a kid a toy they love, though, and in their head it’s more alive than you are!
- I found that, then, that my kids learned and educated themselves more in “life studies” with real toys. They would play around physically, talk to it, have debates and just in general act like it was alive. This was powerful for both improving my children’s imagination but also in making them feel more comfortable with who they are.
- However, I soon found that another big difference existed; with tech, they wanted to learn. They had limited access to software and lots of little good game websites and the like. I’d supervise all they do but would find that they tended to be far more entertained and satisfied when using a gadget. Therefore, I would suggest that whilst gadgets would allow my kids to use their memories and imaginations less, it empowered them for future reference.
- All the games and videos they would be watching and learning from would indirectly expand that imagination, too. My kids would be learning about good plot ideas and what seems to work, which would make a massive difference to the way that the child will feel, for mine especially!
- My kids became far more fluent in coming up with what you would cool a *good* plot through the influence of TV, movies and games. However, they became far more street smart and savvy as actual kids with toys.
It all depends on how you want to see your children progress. I was quite happy to give my kids a balance but I know parents who think I give them too much, or too little, of one or the other.
It takes planning and time to get it right, but choosing the right toys should always consider the long-term impact.