Originally Posted by redvlagrl
We are a TV free/licensed character free household. I hope to do this as long as possible (though I don't want to make DD a social outcast when she is older so I may relent then).
When we are at a playgroup or someone's home and there is, say, an Elmo doll I try to refer to it as a 'teddy' or monster doll or something else. The same with Thomas trains. I just call them trains, not James or Thomas or Gordon etc.
Does anyone else do this or am I alone? And is it pointless, do you think?
I am surprised when I see two year olds who can name every character in a Toy Story book - I suppose it means they must have seen the movie *and* the parent is reinforcing it.
My kids are 3 and 5 (and 6 months, but she doesn't have a lot to say about licensed characters just yet) and I don't work to keep them from licensed "stuff" now, although we avoided it when they were little. I guess I just didn't deliberately expose them to it, but I also didn't try to keep them from them once they discovered them themselves.
My son went through a sort of character "binge" when he first discovered this whole world of characters/marketing (between 2 and 3--we didn't let him watch any TV at all until he was almost 2). Now, at 5, he still loves Star Wars "stuff" (he has yet to see the actual movies
), but he's settled down about all of it for the most part. My daughter (3) who was exposed to more, earlier, as a result of having an older brother who was starting to get into those things, has always been much more moderate about it, and, at 3.25, has yet to really get "into" any particular licensed character. Part of this, I think, is personality, but I think we created a little bit of "forbidden fruit" magic around TV/licensed character with my son that caused him to go through that little craze/phase.
ANYWAY...I was just going to say that, when my kids were little (especially my son), I was SHOCKED by the things they knew, with regard to marketing and characters. By 2, my son--who had never been through a drive-thru or eaten fast food (nor had he seen us eat it), could call out names of fast food restaurants as we drove down the street. Likewise, he occasionally named characters I didn't expect him to know. I wouldn't assume that the kids who know the characters' names have necessarily been overly (or overtly) exposed to those characters. They really are everywhere, and it's not unlikely that your kid (or others) can pick up their names--band-aids, t-shirts, juice boxes, books at the library, et cetera. It's all over the place.
The thing I wonder is, are you doing your kid any particular favor by giving the characters other names? If they're not going to see it any more or less if they call it one name or the other (after all, your daughter could beg for "red monster" just as easily as she could beg for "elmo," right?) Is it just that you're afraid other people will make the same assumptions about you (that you expose your kids to lots of TV, et cetera) if they hear your kid call Elmo by his name that you make about them?
On the other hand, when my 3.25 chose a Cookie Monster puppet at the library this afternoon, and referred to him as "Gingerbread Man" (she's obviously heard his name before and retained the cookie-association, but didn't quite recall his name), I didn't correct her--he just went by Gingerbread Man for the evening.