It’s okay to admit it. Every parent loves going toy shopping with their kids. All those rows and rows of colorful wares are so inviting even to adult eyes, while the intoxicating sights and sounds of the humble toy store can help even the most jaded of us feel like kids once again. But as we relive our childhood as we trundle excitedly down the aisles looking for the jaw droppingly awesome gifts that can make our beloved son or daughter’s birthday or Christmas, we can find ourselves blind to the damage that these seemingly innocuous artefacts can do.
While we all tend to associate our kids’ toys with happiness, merriment and excitement, they can unwittingly do a lot of physical or psychological damage to them. Here are just some of the ways in which the toys we choose for our kids can really mess them up…
Most obviously… They can hurt themselves
You’d think that in an age where child protection legislation necessitates numerous safety checks on anything marketed to children that all toys would be harmless… But you’d be wrong. Aside from the choking hazard that smaller, non age-appropriate toys represent, there are still shelves full of toys on the market today that raise some eyebrows amongst child safety watchdog WATCH (World Against Toys Causing Harm). Here are some of this years worst offenders
They can damage our kids’ body image as adults
We may not think that the Barbie doll or Action Man we give our child to play with can do any psychological damage tom our kids, but they can actually be psychologically damaging. Aside from reinforcing gender stereotypes they can also warp their body image as they grow older by perpetuating an unrealistic (or even unhealthy) standard of beauty. Body positive and age appropriate dolls like these; https://www.babame.com/Our-Generation-dolls.html on the other hand can help to celebrate a more natural and inclusive kind of beauty. It’s never too early to start planning for your kids’ psychological well being.
They can encourage violent behaviors
Most of today’s Dads likely spent their childhood years shooting at friends with blasters or hacking away at one another with swords or lightsabers. And while they may not see any harm in it, there’s actually evidence to suggest that simulated violence playing with toy weapons can encourage violent modes of thinking and teach children that violence is an appropriate means of resolving disputes. That’s not to say that you can’t play The Empire Strikes Back with your child in the backyard, just make sure that they know where the fantasy stops and the real world starts.
They can encourage a collector’s mentality
We should be very wary of toys that encourage a collector’s mentality as this can be unhealthy. It can teach kids that enjoyment is found not in playing with our toys but in adding more and more to our collection. This can be unsustainable, unhealthy and cost a fortune.
Finally… They can lead to very angry parents!
Whatever toys you decide to buy your child, make an informed decision and ensure that they’re tidied away after play. Anyone who knows the exquisite agony of standing on a Lego brick knows that some toys can lead to very, very angry parents.