Those of you that are following my blog posts, will know that it was my little ones second birthday a short while ago. See ‘Big Fish Little Fish.’ As you can imagine, a boat load of toys made it through our doors, much to the excitement of our little munchkin.
The reason I bring it up again, is because of this short article. ‘7 Reasons Kids Need Fewer Toys’. To be fair I think they are all really great points, and I agree with them whole heartedly. Less is definitely more. I mean, who wouldn’t want their offspring to be more resourceful, more creative, have a longer attention span, and have a wider appreciation for the arts and nature. Everybody right!?
The question I have though is this. ‘Can I have the money that you’re now not spending on my child? Or, any child for that matter! You were going to spend it anyway, so it’s not like you need it, is it? It’s surplus to your requirements. I however, can put it to very good use. You know, help those less fortunate than yourselves.
So hear me out. With the impending independence of Scotland*, I’m worried that import duties will be added to my favourite tipple, putting the old aqua vitae beyond the reach of my wallet. This would be devastating, not only for me and my nearest and dearest, but the wider community, and maybe the entire country.
Picture this. Two year old, having constant tantrums, and a dad without the ‘water of life’ to unwind with, at the end of those troublesome days. Times that by three hundred and sixty five days of “drought”. I don’t think I need to go any further do I? I do!? I mean, I’d try my damnedest not to ‘snap like a mutha’ as the rappers like to say. And I must admit, I would put Job to shame in the patience department, but THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE! WITHOUT WHISKY!!!
You will no doubt remember the scene of carnage at the end of Kill Bill volume one. Limbs and heads no longer attached to torso’s and what not, in a great big pile of blood and flesh, in the middle of a dance floor. Now note that your humble narrator, has in fact been trained to use a katana…
What’s that? PayPal account? Oh! Hang on…
Of course, I jest. I’m not really going to go on a murderous rampage across the UK. Just Scotland when I go up there in a couple of weeks 😉
The article mentioned above is, as I say very informative, but I think it could have gone a little further, and given some examples of things we could be doing to promote these attributes in our children. So here’s a couple of things I can recommend.
1. Group a small number of similar toys into a box, and have say, a half dozen different boxes with different stimuli. This will keep your children focused on one thing, and when they start to get bored with that, make a game of packing it away in the box, before opening another one. This way you won’t end up with hundreds of toys all over the living room floor, and your child will learn to clean up after themselves.
2. Put all the toys away and open up a large cardboard box so that it’s flat. Place the cardboard on the floor and give your cherub a couple of wax crayons it will keep then entertained for days. One word of caution though, socks and cardboard do not play well with each other.
3. If you have a garden, great! I have just sourced an old TV cabinet, and cut a hole in it for a washing up bowl. Now my son has a mud kitchen, I mean, what kid doesn’t like playing in the mud? Ask around family and friends and I’m sure you can source some old wooden spoons and pots and pans.
4. Make sure you have regular trips to the park, we go at least once a week. Or out walking in the woods. I have a couple of dogs, so every morning we go for a run in the woods collecting sticks and stones along the way.
5. Every so often, have a sort out of both toys and clothes. I know, you want to keep little Timmy’s first baby grow, but there are a lot of people out there that can’t afford this stuff. I mean, when was the last time you used even one of those dozen muslins you have in the cupboard? A quick search on the internet and I’m sure you can find a local drop in centre for parents that need clothes and toys, hell, go the whole hog and sort out your wardrobe at the beginning of each season. If they can’t afford the simplest clothes for their children, I willing to bet they can’t afford to clothe themselves. And be ruthless!
With all that said and done, the author of 7 things… nor I, have not mentioned the most important thing of all. Interaction! That’s right mums and dads, get off that sofa, get down on the floor and play along. This helps our children’s language skills no end. Along with language, it also helps them to understand and take control of the emotions they are feeling. But most of all it helps their social skills. A child left to their own devices will learn the concept of sharing around age five or six. My son has just turned two, and while he has not grasped this concept wholly, he is just starting to understand.
But there is in my eyes one thing that we are missing here. If we are not on our hands and knees, playing with our children, day in, day out, how do you expect to have a connection? Maybe it’s just me, but to miss out on this parent/child relationship, to me, seems that both parent and child will miss out on a meaningful, intimate bond that will be detrimental to all. And isn’t that the whole point of parenthood?
Be dobby, smeck grimly, and skvat jeezny by the sharries droogs!
*This blog was written before the polls opened and posted after Scotland decided to stay in the Union, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna re-write it at the eleventh hour.
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