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So, about Barbie...

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
This winter we have joined our local YMCA to get out of the house and get some exercise during the winter months. At first we never took DD to the daycare, but DP and I wanted to workout together, so we gave it a try. We were told that there was a craft room and a kids "gym" We came back and she was playing with Barbies. This is a kid that has mostly wooden toys, art supplies and musical interments at her disposal all the time. Never Barbie.

So, I am writing a letter to the head of the daycare at the Y to address the distaste for Barbie ad present evidence for my case against her. But......what to think about Barbie.....I don't want Barbies in our house. I feel like the damn daycare is throwing my front door wide open to an unrealistic, heavily marketed, made in china nightmare. Granted, I like the socialization DD gets there. We are in the gym for about an hour and a half.She is playing with her peers, but .....any thoughts?
post #2 of 43
I guess I would start with whatever harm you think is going to occur with her playing with a Barbie once a week for an hour, or however often it is. Personally, I am not anti-Barbie, and if I was, I can't see restricting any exposure via friends or daycare -- that seems extreme, to me -- so I can't help you there b/c I feel so differently. But really, I suppose you could address it with regards to how it might negatively impact your developing child. I'm not sure they are going to be convinced to throw the Barbies out, but I suppose they might keep them out of your DD's reach, if they want her there badly enough.
post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 
Gee Thanks.
post #4 of 43
The barbie issue has been discussed quite extensively on here. It would be worth your while to search. There is a ton of really good information and opinions and ideas on how to handle barbie and the whole disney princesses thing. Some people allow it all and some allow none and some everything in between. I have boys so I get the whole gun thing to deal with {Sigh}
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info lucyem, I'll continue to research. Best Wishes..
post #6 of 43
Just because she plays with a toy elsewhere, why does that mean you have to have it in your house? How do you plan to handle it when she plays at other houses with other mainstream toys you find objectionable?
post #7 of 43
I don't think our YMCA childcare has Barbies, but I'm not sure. It certainly has lots and lots of plastic, made-in-China toys. I think that if you want the Y to ban a toy you do need to provide some compelling rationale, and that they probably can't afford to ban all plastic, heavily-marketed, made-in-China toys. I suppose if you feel very strongly about it, you could offer to help them raise funds for new toys.

FWIW, I wouldn't use a letter of complaint for this. I think it would be better to talk to the childcare workers who are there when you drop your dd off, and ask them if they could please put the Barbies away for a little while. If you want a change in policy, I'd try to talk to the director face-to-face.

Gently, I'd like to suggest that you take a little time and inspect the childcare area on a visit w/o your daughter and decide if you can be comfortable leaving your child there or not. My guess is that there are other toys which you wouldn't allow in your home. Your standards aren't unusual on MDC, but they are not the mainstream. If you want your dd to only use toys that meet your standards, you're going to have to do some legwork when choosing childcare.
post #8 of 43
You aren't going to find a gym daycare without made in China stuff like Barbie or just as bad as Barbie. I think you have to choose your battles in this world. You can't control everything your child comes into contact with. I'd let this go.
post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjlucca View Post
Gee Thanks.

really? I didn't realize you were asking for only barbie haters to respond. You said you want to write a letter b/c you aren't okay with your DD playing with Barbies, so then that's what you do. If you are looking for justification, and why others don't allow Barbies, then ask that. I figure everyone has slightly different views, so I didn't say, "you should write: Barbies give my child an unhealthy idea about women's bodies, so please remove them from your facility..." b/c I'm not inside your head. You didn't explain what exactly your issues with the plastic doll are.

ETA: and I agree about looking more into the daycare there. I, personally, don't think I'd leave my LO there if I didn't know the providers, know their philosophy, etc. During the interview process, MIC toys, including Barbies, could have came up.
post #10 of 43
I'm not a Barbie fan either. But when you use a gym daycare you kind of take what you get or you don't go. For a regular daycare or nanny you try to find some alignment between your ideals and beliefs, but 90 minutes on an occasional basis? Yeah, pretty much impossible to get everything you want. I don't think it's possible to shelter a child so much that she never even sees or touches a Barbie doll. You still have control over what toys are in your house, right?

Frankly, I wouldn't write a letter. I can't imagine receiving such a letter, if I were the director of a drop-in daycare like at the Y.
post #11 of 43
I think if you feel strongly about it (and it seems you do), you should write a civil, polite letter to the administrators of the daycare, explaining your views. You should think about what you want - NO Barbies at all in the daycare, No Barbies only when when your child visits, no Barbies accessible to your child. You'll have to think about how to manage your request - if it's no Barbies just for your child, how will they identify your child in subsequent visits - will you speak to the supervisors each time, or perhaps you will you put a "Please no Barbies" tag on her when she goes into the room? You will have to think about variations on the situation - What if another child brings her own Barbies from home?

Honestly, I suspect the administrators will respond with a polite acknowledgement and some explanation that they try to keep a variety of toys and games that interest the children who visit, and many children enjoy playing with Barbies, so they will not remove them. They may also tell you that if you don't want your child to play with Barbies, tell her yourself that she is not allowed when she come into the daycare.
post #12 of 43
I grew up in a no-Barbie house. (My Mom, to this day, still despises all things Barbie.) I did get a Bionic Woman doll, though... LOL

I remember playing Barbies at a friend's across the street... and even better, at my friend Janet's house. (She had an older sister--so had inherited this great Barbie collection.)

Those things didn't phase my Mom, because she realistically knew that it was an occasional thing... and it's not like she could insulate me from Barbie for-ev-er.

How old is your DD? Is she old enough that you could talk to her about how Barbie isn't real...and that real girls don't look like Barbie? (If that's what bothers you?)

Or, is it possible that you could offer to donate some toys/art supplies (or even bring in a bag of stuff with you and DD) to the Y? Maybe some child-friendly books on body image or something?

I do think Barbie is sort of a disconnect from the Y... which strives to encourage fitness/health for all sizes. But I don't know if I would make that big of a deal out of it if it was truly an occasional thing.
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
I guess I would start with whatever harm you think is going to occur with her playing with a Barbie once a week for an hour, or however often it is. Personally, I am not anti-Barbie, and if I was, I can't see restricting any exposure via friends or daycare -- that seems extreme, to me -- so I can't help you there b/c I feel so differently. But really, I suppose you could address it with regards to how it might negatively impact your developing child. I'm not sure they are going to be convinced to throw the Barbies out, but I suppose they might keep them out of your DD's reach, if they want her there badly enough.
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjlucca View Post
This winter we have joined our local YMCA to get out of the house and get some exercise during the winter months. At first we never took DD to the daycare, but DP and I wanted to workout together, so we gave it a try. We were told that there was a craft room and a kids "gym" We came back and she was playing with Barbies. This is a kid that has mostly wooden toys, art supplies and musical interments at her disposal all the time. Never Barbie.

So, I am writing a letter to the head of the daycare at the Y to address the distaste for Barbie ad present evidence for my case against her. But......what to think about Barbie.....I don't want Barbies in our house. I feel like the damn daycare is throwing my front door wide open to an unrealistic, heavily marketed, made in china nightmare. Granted, I like the socialization DD gets there. We are in the gym for about an hour and a half.She is playing with her peers, but .....any thoughts?
I don't understand. Did they send the Barbies home with your child? Were the Barbies a recalled toy? Were they not supervising the children properly? Was there some form of dangerous activity going on that I'm missing here?

If you don't want Barbie in your home, don't bring Barbie in your home. The gym daycare having Barbies doesn't mean you have to buy them or any other toy you do not want in your home. The gym has no control in any way over what you bring in to your home.
post #15 of 43
Like umsami, I grew up in a barbie-free home, many of our dolls were wooden or cloth (except those wonderful my-little-ponies that slipped in) I too was allowed to play with Barbies at friends' houses and it was so much fun!
I would caution against being too hard core about these things at the risk that they become more appealing. My parents explained why we didn't have barbies (it was the body image thing and the focus on clothes and accessories) and why we didn't buy into commercialism and over time I came to agree with them. If they had forbade that I play with barbies I think I would have still really wanted too and felt guilty for wanting to. I don't think this is what you want to teach your dd? If you engage her in simple conversations as to why you have misgivings about barbie etc...she will probably listen and eventually it will make sense to her.

Personally I think by keeping our homes made-in-China-crap free, we do a lot to live the values we want our children to have. And over time we can explain the reasons behind what we choose to have in our house.
If you forbid things and go overboard you also risk having your children make judgments about others who make different choices. This can isolate them from friends. We always say "we don't like such and such because of this but other people make different choices or think other things are important..." My oldest is in kindergarten this year so it's really come up a lot lately.
post #16 of 43
I had a niece who was not allowed to play with anything barbie when she was little - you can guess what became her favorite toy as soon as she was of school age and had a birthday party with her friends. Barbie is certainly not pure evil, she will not taint your child. Heck, I can remember having a wonderful time playing with barbies at my grandma's house when I was a young child with my cousins.

If you don't want barbies in your house that is most certainly your right but I would suggest easing up on the restrictions away from home, it certaily won't do any harm to let her play with one for a bit of time here and there while at the gym kid care.
post #17 of 43
I'd file this one under "battles not to pick" and move on.
post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCMoulton View Post
I had a niece who was not allowed to play with anything barbie when she was little - you can guess what became her favorite toy as soon as she was of school age and had a birthday party with her friends. Barbie is certainly not pure evil, she will not taint your child. Heck, I can remember having a wonderful time playing with barbies at my grandma's house when I was a young child with my cousins.

If you don't want barbies in your house that is most certainly your right but I would suggest easing up on the restrictions away from home, it certaily won't do any harm to let her play with one for a bit of time here and there while at the gym kid care.
I agree with this. I thought that I wouldn't let my dd have any Barbies when she was little, but then I watched a Barbie movie and my mom pointed out that I played with Barbies and I turned out to be a feminist with no body image problems and I decided to let it go. My dd has several Barbies and loves to play rescue the prince. I would rather have her play with a character that is portrayed as a strong and happy woman than with baby dolls any day. I would be very surprised if you could find good research out there that supports your view that playing with a doll is harmful. If you are obsessed about your body image and constantly talking about your desire to look different then that will probably affect her more than playing with any toy. I believe there may even be some good research that supports that, but research is so hard to comb through for good stuff.
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ammaarah View Post
I'd file this one under "battles not to pick" and move on.
I agree. I think it would be better to save your ire for when your MIL buys her a Barbie for Christmas. If you feel that strongly about it, ask the people who work with the kids to try to make sure your kid doesn't play with the Barbies. I really think you're over-reacting though.
post #20 of 43
I used to work for the YMCA... they're a not-for-profit organization as far as I know. I strongly suspect that any barbies they had there are not a reflection of YMCA values, but were likely donated. I mean, yes, they do buy some things (For instance the camp I directed bought the balls and stuff), but I suspect that barbies are probably generally beyond their price range. We didn't get a huge budget for stuff.

I wouldn't necessarily complain about the fact that your daughter was playing with them, but look into the YMCA's core values (respect, responsibility, caring, etc) and their mission statement, and point out to the management how barbies do not really follow along with those standards.

While i agree with others that you can't completely protect your kids from these things, I would be slightly unsettled at the YMCA's conflict there and I think it could be handled reasonably easily by pointing out that their own values are not really encompassed by barbie.
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