AAP Suggests Traditional Toys for Young Children

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued an updated clinical report in Pediatrics recommending caregivers give traditional hands-on toys that stimulate imagination and creativity, such as puzzles, building blocks and cardboard boxes, to youths ages 5 and younger, instead of interactive electronic toys. The report also advised that those younger than 5 should only play developmentally appropriate computer or video games with parent or caregiver supervision.

Read more

Give Experience Gifts Instead of Toys


This list from Motherly, will help you provide your child with an awesome experience and lifelong memories.

Kindness is Rising Again

Youth Service America (YSA) kicked off their second annual Kindness Rising campaign encouraging youth to make a difference in their communities through kind acts and service projects.

Kindness Rising is once again sponsored by BE FEARLESS BE KIND, a signature philanthropic initiative of global play and entertainment company Hasbro, Inc. For everyone who takes the pledge through December 20, Hasbro will donate a toy or game to Toys for Tots for up to 50,000 children in need this holiday season who have been impacted by disasters such as Hurricane Florence.

Young people, educators, parents, and caring adults everywhere can join the Kindness Rising campaign by taking the BE FEARLESS BE KIND pledge “to stand up for others, be inclusive and make a difference in the world.”

A variety of project ideas and resources are featured on the Kindness Rising website to help youth put their pledge into action by organizing projects to address community issues, spread kindness, and build skills.

Cut Down on Toy Clutter

Do you dread the holidays and birthdays because it means that your child receives more toys than they (or you!) know what to do with?  If so, it’s time to declutter.

Decluttering toys does not have to be an emotional process where your kids cry and worry what you are going to get rid of next. Nor does it have to be a sneaky escapade where you work under the cover of night, getting rid of things while your kids sleep and hope they don’t notice the next morning. Here’s how:

  1. Be honest. Point out the overflowing toy bin or the closet that doesn’t close. Talk about why it is important to take stock of what you have and do a clean out.
  2. Identify. Ask your child to point out toys that are their absolute favorites. Ask them to show you the toys they don’t really play with any more. Make it clear that you aren’t going to get rid of everything right away unless they are ok with it. If there is something your child is on the fence about, set it aside for a few weeks. Do they notice that it is gone?
  3. Do a clean out. This will be the hardest part.  There will be some no-brainers: baby toys, broken toys, and toys that are missing pieces are easy things to put in the discard pile. As for others, be patient and work together.
  4. Figure out what do to with the toys. Once you go through and identify toys that your child is ok with getting rid of, you’ll have to decide what to do with them. Should you host a garage sale and your kids get the proceeds? Maybe you donate everything. Whatever you decide to do with the toys, make sure your child has a say in it. It might be easier for her to give away things if she knows it is going to a local preschool or to kids who don’t have a lot of toys.
  5. Set rules for the future. Now that your  home is decluttered, you’ll want to establish some ground rules for keeping it that way. Maybe for every new toy your child receives they have to donate an old one. Instead of getting toys for birthdays and holidays, maybe you can ask your family and relatives to give experiences (tickets to the circus, a trip to the movies, etc.) in lieu of “things.” Whatever works for you, do that!

Child With a Short Attention Span? Blame Your Digital Device.

Adapted from Reuters

Parents who turn to smartphones and tablets to break up the tedium of caring for an infant around the clock may be teaching their babies to have a short attention span, a small study suggests.

That’s because when parents stop focusing on playtime with their baby to concentrate on other things like tiny screens, their infants may mimic this behavior by also focusing on toys and other objects for shorter periods of time.

In other words, babies learn to focus better when their parents aren’t distracted, said lead study author Chen Yu, a brain science researcher at Indiana University at Bloomington.

How your phone might give your kid a short attention span | Reuters

“If parents join a child’s attention on a toy object, children are more likely to show longer attention on the target object compared with cases that parents don’t show any attention or interest,” Yu said by email.

This works best when parents follow their baby’s lead, Yu added.

“If parents try to lead by getting the child’s attention on the object of the parent’s interest, this effort may not be successful,” Yu said. “But if parents just follow the child’s attention/interest it is easier to be in joint attention with their child.”

Click here to continue reading about how your smartphone and tablet usage may affect your child’s attention span.

Eager to learn more about digital citizenship?  Check out Common Sense Media.