Editor’s note: Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, offers parents the following advice when choosing toys for their children during the holiday season and throughout the year.
In the midst of the holiday shopping season, parents are faced with a plethora of toy options for their children. They must decide between the latest and greatest tech gadgets and old favorites that they may remember playing with as a child. Here are a few key principles for parents to keep in mind when considering what’s best for your child’s development.
Interaction is key
No matter what toy your child plays with, the best way to foster their development is to be an active participant in their play. Try to give your children toys that encourage interaction with other children or adult caregivers. Toys should not be viewed as a tool to occupy your child while he or she is left alone, but instead should provide opportunities for them to play with others.
You have to like it too
Give your child toys that make both of you happy and you will be more likely to play together. Avoid games with flashing lights or loud noises if you find them annoying. Instead, select toys you would enjoy playing with, such as your favorite children’s book or that barn toy you remember fondly. Your child will appreciate playing with you and their social skills will benefit from the interaction. Read full post »