Remember those noise electronic toys that you wish your child didn’t open during Christmas Eve had you known that it will annoy the hell out of you? Until the battery runs out, or your child forgets about it, then you’re going to need to work harder to get your child’s attention.
Toys that light up, say words, and play songs are the one that most likely entertain your tot, right? Even those non-annoying toys—as long as it’s electronically powered—really capture their attention and could play with them for hours. You can’t really blame them; there is an appeal to the “magic” these toys can perform, so to speak.
Maybe you should consider giving them a set time limit when playing with these kinds of toys.
New research shows that when kids play with electronic toys often, it leads to less direct communication between parent and child. While the study published int the online edition of JAMA Pediatrics recognizes that electronic toys do contribute to the development of a child’s mind, it also found a setback: it was less beneficial for their language development.
The study involved 26 pairs of parents and their children aged 10 to 16 months. They were grouped into two, a set that was given electronic toys and another set that had traditional toys such as wooden toys, puzzles, shape-sorters, blocks, and board books. Using audio equipment, the researcher recorded the sounds in the participants’ homes.
Both the parents and babies who were electronic toys were less vocal. The parents spoke less and the babies responded to the adults less. Books and traditional toys, on the other hand, produced the most number of verbal exchanges between parents and their babies.
Researchers led by Dr. Anna Sosa of Northern Arizona University highly encourages parents to lessen the time babies play with toys that light up, sing or talk. Instead, they should read to their child and demonstrate play with traditional toys for better interpersonal interaction. “At the same time parents are being encouraged to read to their young children and engage in direct infant play, they are also bombarded with advertisements for ‘educational’ toys that claim to promote language development in very young children, including infants,” Dr. Sosa wrote.
Sonia Buenaventura, M.D., a pediatrician who has been practicing for more than 30 years, strongly discourage the exposure of babies to TV shows, gadgets, and video games until his second birthday. "I have seen many hyperactive children nowadays who are speech delayed and with poor social and fine motor skills because of too much exposure to TV and gadgets.”
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As with the toys you pick for your child, it's important to choose well. After all, children learn best through play--and you, dear parents are their best playmate.
Sources: December 30, 2015. “The Type o Toy Babies Use During Playtime May Affect Their Language Development” (medicaldaily.com) December 24, 2015. “Books, Puzzles Trump Electronic Toys for Infants’ Language Skills” (psychcentral.com) December 23, 2015. “Noisy Electronic Toys and Babies’ Verbal Skills” (webmd.com)