“The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation.” —Ray L. Wilbur
Today I played outside with my son almost the entire day. He loves to be outside. I read once that “toys are the building blocks for our child’s future. They teach our children about the world and about themselves”. Well it is true to some extend. I know from my own experience that if I buy my son a new toy – no matter what kind of toy – he plays with it for some time (usually not very long) and then puts it to all the other toys. Here in Germany we have a plethora of wooden toys (HABA factory for example) BUT he plays with those kind of (mostly expensive) toys only for some time.
I think that it is important to think about the number of toys that children have. Most bedrooms or play rooms are filled with toys up to the ceiling and this does not have to be. I believe parents should limit the number of toys their kids have to play with. I believe that fewer toys will benefit children in the long-run. Firstly, kids will learn to be more creative. I have been in a toy store today as a matter of fact to buy my son a “bobby car”. I have seen so many toys in there and came up with the conclusion that too many toys prevent kids from fully developing their gift of imagination. WHY does a kid need a toy vacuum cleaner or toy shovel and broom? Let them play with he real thing! I also have been reading on two german public health workers (Strick and Schubert) who conducted an experiment in a kindergarten. They told the teachers to remove all the toys for three months. In the beginning there was a lot of boredom but then the kids used their imagination again and their surroundings to play.
What I also found out was that my son’s attention span developed longer when he had less toys. I realized that when there were too many toys in front of him and many others behind him in the shelf he did not appreciate the toys at all. The toys were literally investing for a couple of minutes. When I watch my son play with other kids I see that he establishes better social skills. I believe this is also due to the fact that he has fewer toys. He needs to interact more with other kids and adults. My son learns the give and take of good conversation. The amount he repeats at just almost 18 months old is amazing.
My favorite thing in the world is reading. I mentioned this in a couple of posts already. I want to try to develop a love for reading, writing and art for my son. I believe that fewer toys will open up the love for books, music, painting and coloring more. He will use his imagination more. A love for art will help him better appreciate beauty, emotion and communication in the world when he is older. I read to my son every night before bed-time. Two little pixie-books at least and his all-time favorite “The hungry caterpillar”. He loves it, listens and stays on my lap the entire time. I started reading to him when he was five weeks old.
Another huge aspect is that my son experiences more nature. He basically grows up outside. He runs around the garden all day long. Flowers, trees, grass you name. He and I are fortunate that he can be able to enjoy so much nature and physical exercise. If you do not have a garden close to your home go to a park as much as you can. I believe that children who learn to appreciate the world around them take care of the world around them.
My husband is a huge advocate on disciplining our son. He says that children need to learn everything from the ground up – including appropriate behavior, how to get results, how to get along with others and how to achieve ones dream. Discipline should never be withheld or avoided – instead it should be positive and consistent. We all know that words are powerful. They can either destroy or create. It is important to choose words carefully because they can offer encouragement and positive thought or them can send the kids further into despair.
I try to teach my son to be optimistic. (Hello Jean). Pessimism does not change the world. Optimism does. I work for the United Nations so Peace is an issue on a daily basis. Sometimes I think this is not in my hands but in relation to what I see on a daily basis and what is going on in the world this is exactly in my hands. Start in your little world. Start with your kids.
I mentioned “time” before. There is one gift you can never take back or give back. This is TIME. I believe it is important to carefully think about what and who is getting your attention on a daily basis. And if you have time give your child undivided attention. These little guys love it. “Disconnect to connect”!