Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why don't we want those toys, Mama?

So we are not usually much of a tv family.  The girls get a cartoon as a treat not just because they're bored.  We don't quite land on the fully anti-tv family end of the spectrum but I like to think we do pretty well most of the time balancing out the tv time.  My confidence as a mama soars when I read statistics like these from a recent article in the LA Times stating that preschool kids watch an average of an entire day of television a week!!  I don't think my girls would even be able to sit still for the 3-4 hours a day needed to reach that level.

However, to fully contradict myself, the past two days have witnessed a ridiculous amount of Noggin and Animal Planet that has me grateful that my children would usually prefer to really play, rather than sit in front of a screen.  Unfortunately, my 5 year old has been sick - 102 fever, tummy aching, hacking cough - and stuck at home on the pull out couch (or as we like to call it, The Sick Bed).  And so we are on day 3 (and I think the last since the fever is beginning to creep down) of jammies, tv, books, and sleep.

Throughout these hours, I have discovered yet another reason to be thankful that my kids are not huge tv watchers, especially as we are coming into the holiday season.  The number of commercials right now pushing products for children to demand from their families for the holidays is atrocious.  I realize that we live in a society of consumers and that businesses are struggling and it is, after all, their job to turn a profit.  Hey, I'd like to turn a profit too ... here's my plug for Monkey Beanz fair trade gifts for families!  It would, however, be nice to see a little bit of variety in the onslaught of images and messages that are thrown at our kids.  Perhaps a few commercials for some nice natural toys, some wooden dollhouses, cloth dolls - surely even Toys R Us must carry a few of these products.

So as Sasha and I were watching yet another episode of Charlie and Lola, there was a commercial marathon of big pink plastic dollhouses with dogs and talking dolls.  And out slips from my unedited mouth, "Wow, aren't you glad we don't have any of those in our house?"  And Sasha cocked her fevered little head at me and said, "Why, Mama?"

So then I had to formulate my dislike of certain aspects of the toy world into language for a 5 year old.  In all honestly, this was not that hard.  I was able to use the toys we have here that we enjoy and encourage creative play to contrast with many of the electronic toys (i.e. it is much more fun to create an art project together than to listen to a game tell you what to do by yourself).  Also, because Sasha has been a part of the journey with Monkey Beanz, she has a basic understanding of fair trade and the awareness of where our products come from and who they help. 

It is these conversations as a parent that reinforce for me that kids do actually "get it."  If we give them the knowledge in a way they can understand and relate to, there is so much about the world we live in that they can begin to think and learn about.

Off the soap box now.  I may have to set up a rant of the week day for the Monkey Beanz blog.  I'm open to suggestions!


Muggs said...

We love Charlie and Lola too and I have a huge obsession with safe toys. It is great to meet a mother who feels similar. Looking forward to reading more. I found you on MBC in the 100 followers list.

Julia said...

Thanks for stopping by! I'm having a great time at MBC too - off to check your blog!