When we spend $$ for that colorful, wonderful new toy, we are hoping, wishing, and dreaming that we can delight baby or keep our toddler busy “for hours” like the package says. But it turns out that toys are just toys—and not Mommy. No surprise. Mommy is what children really need and want!
I bought a woodcrafting kit as a gift for my son Ammon when he was about 9 years old. It looked so creative and fun! The box showed all sorts of clever contraptions, vehicles, and birdhouses that you could build with the wood pieces and instructions inside! I supposed that Daddy would get it out and play it with him, or that Ammon’s own curiosity would make that toy happen. Now Ammon is nearly 16, and guess what? Yep, the wonderful wooden craft kit never got opened. I need to give it to the thrift shop, because it makes me cry when I see it. Ammon isn’t interested in building little toy cars anymore . . . he is learning to drive a real one!
Research done at London’s Institute of Education determined that a stimlulating home environment with lots of toys and books may help toddlers progress temporarily, but the biggest indicator of long-term benefit comes when mother (or father) enters the picture. Dr Leslie Gutman, the report’s lead author, said “Toys and books have their place . . . but what is important is having the parents interact with the child . . . To have parents read to their children is much more important than having a hundred books—that’s great, but if you are not reading to your child, that’s not engaging with the child.”
Toys are only tools—tools that help parents and kids engage, connect and enjoy each other. They are lifeless until you are involved.
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