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Times Have Changed, But Kids Haven’t

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I saw balloons that sing happy birthday in the store on the other day.

Singing balloons?

I remember when I was a kid, we just had solid color balloons that my parents blew up before birthday parties and it was luxury. Now it’s difficult to have a kids’ birthday party without a bouquet of helium balloons. Times have changed, huh?

But singing balloons, along the singing birthday candle, and the singing birthday card. I recently even saw singing t-shirts for kids online. I have to say, it cannot be a mom-invention. What mom would ever want her child to be wearing a singing t-shirt? That’s something Grandmas buy. They think, how cute, little Johnny just loves singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and can you just see the face of the mom when the little Johnny gets the precious t-shirt singing Old McDonald?

And then the Old McDonald song goes everywhere where little Johnny goes.

Day after day.

Week after week.

And little Johnny has a fit every time when the t-shirt has to be washed and when it finally disappears.

It just seems to me that the crazier world gets, the crazier children’s products they make. Or could be the other way around? Maybe it is that when we start over-stimulating our children at a young age, their brain will just need more and more stimulation at the older age. Children grow to need the adrenaline rush and not to learn to think themselves when everything is done for them—even singing the children’s songs.

A child needs time to digest what she has seen, learned, or done. When children are exposed to too much of information without time to process it, they will shut down, and won’t learn anything. Toys and play are not just entertainment for children—they are work. Children learn by play, playing feeds children’s imagination and encourages thinking and creativity. Toys that work by a push of a button take a way of the joy of learning from a child.

When I was a little girl, I had a doll. The doll was just a regular doll but in my mind, she got her diaper wet and I had to change her. She needed food and I fed her. She was crying and I held her.

The doll really didn’t do any of those things, but I had the ability to imagine that she did.

Are we taking something away from our children by buying them the crying, peeing, pooping, and talking dolls?

As there are new toys coming to the market everyday replacing the marvelous toy that was the ”big” thing last week, it just seems to me that by buying the latest and greatest, we are just teaching our children to be consumers.

Not creative thinkers.

When I think back on my childhood memories, the best things weren’t the foil helium balloons, or the Barbie-dolls with their cars. But boy I had blast having tea parties in the garden, making sandcastles, and sewing clothes for the Barbie fashion show.

I don’t even have a memory of my ”best birthday present” I got as a child, but the best birthday memories are when I got to design my own cake, and bake it from the scratch with my mom, or when my dad pretended to be a magician on my party and later on taught me all the tricks.

Maybe my childhood just wasn’t full of fancy toys, because I can’t even remember them. But it sure was full of creativity and innovation.

But are today’s children all that different than what you and I were? Think of how many times the empty box has been more interesting for you child, than the item inside. Or how much fun wrapping paper can bring on Christmas mornings, or what could be better than plane old dirt?

Times have changed, but the kids haven’t.


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