In our enthusiasm and competitiveness to claim the best parent trophy, we end up overwhelming our kid with too much. With an increased spending capability and abundance of choices in market parenting has more or less become a responsibility to make everything available to the kids. It has drifted the parent child relation away from the basic concept of learning and growth together. In our attempt to make everything available to our child we rob them the opportunity to experience and discover life. We are in such a hurry to make our child smart and ready for competitive world, we make them skip the basic steps to view and feel life through their own lenses rather than how the adults around them see it or the online videos interpret it.
The book gives few pointers that can be added to the checklist when we are deciding on quantity and quality of stuff we are introducing to our children.
• Avoid the excess of stuff in the child’s life; it can be the toys,books or clothes. Children given so very many choices learn to undervalue them all,and hold out-always-for whatever elusive thing is not offered. There is a freedom with less : freedom to attend,engage and absorb. Give this freedom of less to your child.
• No special toys, or quantity of toys, is necessary to develop a child’s imagination. Children use and grow their imagination quite naturally. They only need time to do so. Plenty of open ended time and mental ease.
• Be alert of the advertising superficiality. The claim that the children cannot learn without a particular toy or gadget is all commercialization.
• In your moment of overworking or unavailability, never try to compensate with any stuff. By doing this we send a signal to the kid that our relationship can be replaced and the stuffs can do a stand in for us in their lives. We don’t want them to believe so, right?
• During the early years add toys that are helpful to develop the sensory skills. Colorful blocks with smoother edges that can be put to mouth safely(as that is the first place they will end up), different shapes and very calm and easy sounds and lights. Avoid automated movements, sharp sounds,lights or smells(these can have hyper effects on child’s senses).
• Don’t try to make the child’s play area a science exhibition. Be easy on technology, any automated motor mechanism or self assisting toy can never make the kids learn the fundamentals of science. The learning will always need discussion and experimentation around it.
• Let the child invent props for themselves in the pretend play. If the toy sets have everything in them, then the imagination is fixated. Allow a square box to play the role of a bath tub in one game and sofa seat in another game. This will allow the child to adapt and adjust resources.
• The play zone should focus on experience than entertainment. Engagement in gardens,kitchens,walk around in market can do much more for the cognitive learning than a specialized doll set or fighter set.
• Allow the child to linger with you in house and involve them in kitchen,laundry, garden. There may be some muddy steps or mess to clear on the kitchen platform, but the experience of the kid makes it worth.
• Make nature part of life in significant way. Nature has power to soothe and can also help in learning a lot of things.
• Interactions should be part of child’s life in house and outside. Social skills cannot be stimulated by technology.
• Give toys that need active play than the fixated sets.
• Books should be more than the caricature of Hollywood characters or cartoons.
• Clothes should be selected as per need and comfort than for brand or style statement.
Please note that we always take pride in the fact that our leanings are attributed to our simpler and less resourceful childhood. Our childhood memories are filled with the outdoor games and not any specific technology. We learned new ways and invented our own methods as per the need. If we know and agree that the less helped us, them why avoid our kids that pleasure. It is not their fault that they are born in over commercialized and technologically overwhelming era. They have all the right to have smooth,calm and innocent pace of learning and growth.
* Text in italics is directly taken from the book