The Rise in Technology & the Demise of Development – Part 4 – Toys!

Toys & Gadgets

You probably don’t think about baby toys when you first think about technology but take a look around your home especially when it comes to Christmas and that all important first Birthday and you will soon see what I mean – they’ll need a room of their own!

This is one that infuriates me as babies do not need lots of toys, they don’t need to be surrounded by plastic and they certainly don’t need the latest celebrity endorsed products – remember, celebrities get PAID to endorse products, that doesn’t mean they are actually of any use or that you need them.

With so many technology based, electronic toys our children, including babies, are not interacting with others, they are not getting the physical exercise and development they need, they are staying inside instead of being outside and playing in nature. The result of all this:

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Lack of connection with nature which can have a direct link to compassion, imagination and mental well-being
  • Neural pathways missing ‘steps’
  • Sensory over stimulation leading to sleep disruption and anxiety
  • Natural development of ‘play’ is affected
  • Key developmental areas such as spatial awareness are being missed through lack of interaction with adults
  • Language skills are affected by learning alternative ‘TV toy/character language’

This may sound doom & gloom and ‘bah humbug’ especially with Christmas approaching, but our children are losing the art of imagination and creativity and what is left by the time they go to school is squeezed out by conformity. TV shows and toys do not teach children manners, respect and inspire creativity, but you can.

So, what can you do?

  1. Stop spending money on needless plastic! Our Babyopathy classes show parents how they can use every day items at home to interact with and develop their babies AND save money!
  2. Read to your baby! Your baby will not care what you are reading to them (unless it is a scary novel for example) when they are very little so if you have 10 mins for a cup of tea and a magazine – read it out loud to them – listening to language is the foundation to the development of their own voice. As soon as they are old enough progress on to some good old fashioned fairy tales – they have a role to play in their development too! (see my previous blog on Fairytales)
  3. Show by example! Your baby will learn so much from watching you so don’t be afraid to play with them. Use language like in and out or up and down and they will start to understand the concept of spatial awareness too which helps enormously with their math skills later on.
  4. Play music! Music is the food of the soul as far as I am concerned and can lift both you and your baby’s mood. However, holding your baby and playing music, showing them the rhythm of music through clapping or a homemade shaker (an old plastic bottle with some dried rice in and the lid taped up is perfect) will also help with the development of key maths skills too!
  5. Get outside and play! We all have an inbuilt connection with nature that nurtures our well-being and development, we have just forgotten that we need to use it. Nature can be an all-round developmental tool that will delight your baby’s senses without overstimulation. Just never leave your baby unattended and make sure the area is safe!

The continued rise of technology is inevitable and does have its positives however, the key to its success in our lives is to remember that we do not NEED it. Balance the risks of technology with the realities of life. Time away from technology or minimizing it’s use and instead spending time in nature should be our daily goal. After all, nature can provide everything we need; our food and nutrients, a source of exercise and physical development, a natural pain killer and healer and a source of natural toys and for our all-round development and well-being, you just have to use it!