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using fad toys to educate children

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Trent from the simple dollar, recently posted about tactics for getting the “it” toy for your child for Christmas, and a lot of commentators stated that had no intention of being suckered into the marketing around the year’s must have toy. In response, he also posted about why he thinks that getting the “it” toy might be good for your child, even if you do think it is likely to be a very faddish thing.

I get the strong impression that Trent plans to educate his kids to be thoughtful consumers. People who are aware of marketing hype, and advertising, who don’t make the same mistakes that many other consumers make. I have no idea whether he will be successful, but I certainly think he’s got a good idea.

One of the best ways to help your child understand concepts, is to allow them to make their own mistakes. If you always shelter your kids from consumerism and adverts, and don’t allow them to buy junk when it’s not important there’s a good chance that they won’t really learn how to ignore adverts they do see. They might buy junk that they can’t afford, when it’s not the latest toy, but the latest new car.

Of course, if it turns out that you were right, and the toy they wanted so much was a case of style over substance, you need to help them understand that - in a nice, constructive way. In bringing up children, it’s not just protecting them now that’s important, it’s giving the the tools that they can protect themselves as adults. If that means that they make small mistakes as kids, but no large ones as adults, that’s being a good parent.

If you always make sensible decisions for your kid, they might not grow up to be able to make sensible decisions for themselves.

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4 comments for “using fad toys to educate children”

  1. Interesting post. I’m doing a book review next week of “Buy, Buy, Baby” which is about marketing and kids. Thanks for pointing out the Simple Dollar posts.

    I like your idea of letting kids make their own mistakes ie doing a “review” of the gift after a certain amount of time. This won’t work for younger kids however.


    Posted by FourPillars | December 9, 2007, 2:19 pm
  2. It’s hard not to protect kids–I mean, that’s our role as adult (in some fashion). But I’m with you and Trent, sometimes you have to let them make their own mistakes. Or be exposed to things we’d rather shield them from. Otherwise how will they learn and grow?

    Posted by Mrs. Micah | December 9, 2007, 2:58 pm
  3. @Four Pillars:
    I look forward to reading about that book.

    I guess it can be difficult to work out when kids are old enough to be able to learn from their mistakes.

    @Mrs. Micah:
    It always seems like the worthwhile things are hard, doesn’t it.

    Posted by plonkee | December 9, 2007, 9:15 pm
  4. I agree that you should allow your kids to make their own choices, it teaches them independence and they will be able to make wiser decisions in the future.

    But I really want to protect them from everything!!!!!!!I won’t.

    Posted by Toys and Games | September 17, 2008, 12:59 pm

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