Toys have a huge impact in the child development, and it’s been proven with research. Little did we imagine that mere toys could shape the thinking of curious minds. Studies have shown that children take in every information and details happening around them all the time. An adult brain tends to ignore irrelevant information. All the details taken in by the child creates a connection in their brains that help them form their intellect and brain development.
Until the age of twelve, the brain of little ones can take much more information than once the brain has fully developed. Thus learning complex issues, new languages, and musical instruments are easier for children compared to adults.
Toys play a huge hand in developing or impacting your child’s physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills. This is why it’s so important to gift your kid’s age-appropriate toys. Most people still don’t understand the significance of this, but follow the steps below to understand the importance of toys in child development.
Stereotypes And Children
Throughout our childhood, we were exposed to stereotypes we all unintentionally abided to. Girls were expected to play with dolls and belong to all things pink while the color blue, balls and cars were separated for boys. Playing with the opposite toys were deemed as wrong and different. The concept has been instilled into young minds from a very tender age. This is also known as social conditioning. Gendered toys exploit the cognitive development of children. Girls accept that they should be playing with dolls that display empathy and care.
Boys are never seen playing with cooking utensils. As a result, men are deemed to be far from domestic work which grows in them since childhood. Toy companies, over the years, have taken advantage of such differences that the society accepts and encourages. It would have been a better decision if toy companies made gender-neutral or unisex toys that don’t represent any gender bias. But that is a far-fetched dream for now.
Gender Identities At Age Two
As soon as kids turn two, they begin to develop their individual identities. They look for similar and society “set” conditions to fit in. Baby girls prefer to wear pink and be complimented for that. Eventually, compliments are only allowed for girls while boys are expected to be brave and confident.
Toys Help Stimulate a Child’s Senses
Through five senses, children learn to differentiate between colors, sound, shapes and much more. While playing with a variety of toys, children are exposed to a wide range of senses to use. Soon your little one can tell where the sound is coming from and how close and far it is. They also learn what sort of color is associated with each thing. For example, a fruit that’s red is always an apple in their books.
Toys Impact on Children’s Career Choices
Using Lego blocks to play with, boys learn spatial thinking that makes them more calculative. No wonder why boys are expected to be good with numbers and are expected to choose a career related to that. On the other side, girls are expected to be sympathetic, kind and caring towards others that could be demonstrated in careers like teaching and nursing.
Society’s Impact on Children’s Cognitive and Social Development
The topic of how each category of toy affects children is a sensitive one. Society seems to have created a norm that we and our ancestors have followed over aeons, and nobody prefers a change either. Limiting your daughters to beautiful barbie dolls will condition them to be thinking that they need to be flawless, blue-eyed and blonde to be considered attractive. Such dolls tend to create a standard of what is considered beautiful, and that is brainwashing of another level.
Not only dolls, but girls are also provided with toy utensils that make them believe that girls are meant to be domestic individuals who belong only to the kitchen and nowhere else. Boys, on the other hand, are ridiculed and mocked if they are seen to play with anything but cars, guns or monster trucks. These toys teach them to be brave and violent. Giving your one-year-old boy the right toys will impact on their cognitive skills as they grow up.
Optimise Your Child’s Development
Just because toys have a deeper meaning behind what they appear, doesn’t mean you will deprive your children of playing with toys. Toys are not harmful as long as you teach your little ones to think beyond what is around them. To do so, you need to expose them to a gender-neutral content that does not push them to accept the social norms. Include gender-neutral toys in their playroom that is entertaining and fun for them to interact with. Playing with toys help young children become social with others.
Try controlling your children from being overexposed to technological mediums, but that does not mean restricting them from everything. Encourage them to watch movies, shows or cartoons that are not gender-biased.
Even the way you communicate with your children plays a vital role in their brain development as they absorb and observe everything. So be careful while using explicit language. Since they are always eager to learn and hear from others, you could communicate and teach them specific things. They tend to look for guidance and imitate their guardians much more than you think.
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