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#61 of 91 Old 09-16-2008, 12:20 PM
 
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I haven't read all the posts yet - but I just had to respond as a mother of a child with dyspraxia (motor planning issues) (and other issues like APD, etc).

Ya know, everytime I read the "TV harms their brains" or "too much stimulation is bad" I cringe....because I feel like part of the feeling here is a scare tactic. That parents are afraid that their child will have "problems" so if only they do this or that prescription, their child won't "get" whatever the syndrome is. And there is also an implication that if a child DOES have that condition, well obviously the parent did something wrong in how they raised them.

This goes completely contrary to my experience as the mom of a SN child (and one NT child). Kids come prewired, as far as I can tell. If they're going to have problems, they're going to have problems. I guess extreme neglect or abuse can affect an otherwise NT child - but in general, I think that it is the case that different environments for children merely support or make obvious the problems that might be there.

So I guess what I'm saying is that the "worry" over toys that are too stimulating or the worry that a child who sees TV or that a kid isn't outside enough are, in general, red herrings that are just touted by some of these experts as "guarantees" that your child won't have problems....and that's just not true. So make those choices based on your personal beliefs and what works for your family but try to avoid the "my child is okay because I did X and yours is not because you did Y" out of it.

Sorry I'm just a bit sensitive because I so often hear the idea that ADHD, autism and other disorders are caused by bad parenting and it's just NOT TRUE.

hth decrease your level of "worry" about these issues.....
peace,
robyn
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#62 of 91 Old 09-16-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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No, of course those things are not from "bad parenting"...

But there is new research out there. I mean, a generation ago, doctors were telling their patients that bottle feeding was better for babies and formula was healthier than breast milk, no one thought of skin cancer and sunscreen so no one wore it, it was just dawning on people about environmental toxins- mercury, PCBs, fire-retardants, etc. that might be bad for your health should be cut out of products, recycling didn't exist... The list goes on...

What I'm saying is that I think that we should take seriously the new evidence that these things could be harmful to children- TV, our general cultural tendancy toward "overstimulation", our shift indoors. How and what they actually do to them (and to what degree, and what other factors play into it) is not yet known, and that is the bottom line of it. It's not meant to scare, guilt, accuse or any of that. But it is meant to inform and I think people should take notice. Just the same thing we say to mothers who formula feed, circ, etc. here- if you know better, you try to do better. Is TV bad? Yeah. How bad? I don't really know and neither does anyone else. But intuition now backed up by research says that it is not good, so I need to account for that in my parenting and do the best I can.
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#63 of 91 Old 09-16-2008, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't read all the posts yet - but I just had to respond as a mother of a child with dyspraxia (motor planning issues) (and other issues like APD, etc).

Ya know, everytime I read the "TV harms their brains" or "too much stimulation is bad" I cringe....because I feel like part of the feeling here is a scare tactic. That parents are afraid that their child will have "problems" so if only they do this or that prescription, their child won't "get" whatever the syndrome is. And there is also an implication that if a child DOES have that condition, well obviously the parent did something wrong in how they raised them.
That is tough! My DS is still very little, but I would be very angry if someone told me that it is because of my bad parenting that my child is having a difficult time. I have had people tell me that I am delaying DS's development as he is on me too much and not on the floor enough - and that pissed me off big time! But, while I am not sure that TV itself harms brains - I am pretty convinced that watching TV replaces other activities that are required for healthy development.... I do think there is something to questioning whether all the educational (or not)TV that is offered is not perhaps doing more harm than good. However, this is my personal stance and of course each parent has to make their own informed decision. Also I will add, that it is seductive to think you are protecting your child from all sorts of problems when making our choices as parents..... but as you said, some kids just come wired differently and there is nothing you can do about that.
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This goes completely contrary to my experience as the mom of a SN child (and one NT child). Kids come prewired, as far as I can tell. If they're going to have problems, they're going to have problems. I guess extreme neglect or abuse can affect an otherwise NT child - but in general, I think that it is the case that different environments for children merely support or make obvious the problems that might be there.
I used to think that ADHD was a urban phenomenon and had closet thoughts about this being a disorder that is over diagnosed and an "illness of our modern lifestyle". I worked in a rural African community and saw 2 children who would have been diagnosed ADHD. They lived without electricity or any modern convenience.... so that blew my theory out of the water, and since then I am much more cautious about generalizations.
However, I do think that there are choices a parent can make that support child development, and choices that do not.... not as a guarantee for anything - like having a perfect child or something like that.... but choices that will support a child whoever they are and whatever their needs are.
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So I guess what I'm saying is that the "worry" over toys that are too stimulating or the worry that a child who sees TV or that a kid isn't outside enough are, in general, red herrings that are just touted by some of these experts as "guarantees" that your child won't have problems....and that's just not true. So make those choices based on your personal beliefs and what works for your family but try to avoid the "my child is okay because I did X and yours is not because you did Y" out of it.
Firstly, I would not accept any parent telling me that I screwed up before they knew just what they are talking about or based on some theory of theirs.
There are no guarantees, but from what I see around me and what I hear from therapists treating children, there are things which are better to include and other things that are preferable to exclude when raising young children.... for myself I am not trying to avoid having to face the situation of my DS having a hard time and being diagnosed with some sort of problem. I am wanting to enjoy my journey as a parent and I see too many obstacles in the modern culture around me. But,as I have mentioned before I am very idealistic and do have an inherent belief that things need to change in how we as a society view childhood....
Most of my friends with babies and young children adore their kids, but do not really enjoy just being with them - there is so much pressure to be stimulating them and giving them opportunities and the joy of being a parent and a child seems to get lost. I might have this very wrong. But I love just being with my DS and not worrying about whether I am holding him too much or not enough or whether I should feed him now or later or how much or even what. I, for the most part, just enjoy being mum to my DS (other than when he is whining and will not sleep unless my nipple is in his mouth and wakes up as soon as I take the nipple out and and and and! But my general experience is one of joy and wonder). I think what I am trying to say is there is far too much pressure on parents and children and we could all have a much better time if we stopped trying to be perfect.

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Sorry I'm just a bit sensitive because I so often hear the idea that ADHD, autism and other disorders are caused by bad parenting and it's just NOT TRUE.

hth decrease your level of "worry" about these issues.....
peace,
robyn
You are right! This is a huge hurdle that we as a society are having to get over. Understanding just what these disorders are. From when I studied until now there is also such a huge shift in understanding.... I think this is positive.

In brief, I leant about 1 -2 months after DS was born that there are no guarantees. I fell in love with AP and thought I had the answer to all my questions - until I started to worry about how much I was holding DS and feeling guilty if his needs were not met instantly 100% of the time. What would this mean when he became an adult and how could I be so cruel and I am messing up his chances at a secure attachment, etc, etc, etc. So I chilled out and am now really just going with what feels right, and I am enjoying being a parent so much more.:

I hope this makes sense.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#64 of 91 Old 09-16-2008, 04:12 PM
 
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Great discussion! I'm amazed that it's gone on so long with nobody mentioning The Continuum Concept. This is a book about some of the things you're talking about--learning from being with adults in their everyday life. It is NOT a parenting manual, and it makes some unwarranted leaps of logic, but it is a VERY interesting book.

Here are a couple of my articles that you might find relevant:
http://blog.earthlingshandbook.org/2...lly-do-it.aspx
http://blog.earthlingshandbook.org/2...r-madness.aspx

About walkers: I used one quite a bit when I was one year old. I have a slight bone malformation in one hip joint; I have a low aptitude for learning muscle skills; I have a timid and cautious temperament. Some combination of those factors led to my learning to walk very late. I could not balance well and was very upset by falling, so for many months I cruised along the furniture and rarely would try to stand independently. My parents found that in the walker, I could get around very well (because of the supported balance) and this made me happier and more confident about my ability to move on my own. It also got me to practice a wider variety of foot movements, strengthening my ankles so that eventually I was able to balance better and walk. I think it served a sort of PT function for me. My overall opinion of walkers is positive, aside from the obvious safety hazard if there's any sort of ledge the child can roll off of.

But I never got a walker for my son, nor did we have any kind of "stander" toy, although he did use one at the sitter's sometimes. It was obvious in his first week of life that he'd inherited his father's physical coordination, not mine; he's always had an easy time figuring out how to make his body do things (within the limits of his development) and his balance is astounding! He didn't need a special tool to help him practice, and in fact getting used to extra support might have been detrimental.

So I think it's a matter of keenly observing the individual child and discerning his/her needs. Because of EnviroKid's aptitude, we were able to have him sleep in a regular bed from birth (he easily learned not to fall out), to have no gate on the stairs (he didn't attempt to go up or down until he had a good sense of how to do it), etc. Other kids don't have that combination of coordination and caution, so they need more safety devices and more direct instruction.

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#65 of 91 Old 09-16-2008, 04:59 PM
 
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usly the new evidence that these things could be harmful to children- TV, our general cultural tendancy toward "overstimulation", our shift indoors. How and what they actually do to them (and to what degree, and what other factors play into it) is not yet known, and that is the bottom line of it.
But the reality is also that we're raising children who will live in our technological society, not in a stone age culture. If they are raised without the sorts of fine motor skills that we take for granted and which are essential to our way of life (like the wrist motion involved in using a screw driver), they will be disadvantaged. A friend of mine was doing a project trying to help a really primitive tribe become responsible for the upkeep of donated resources and they had a real problem with screwdrivers. it's virtually impossible to teach an adult who's never tried it to use a screwdriver.

Of course, you don't need to go and buy things which guarantee to stimulate their mind in five different ways (vomit), but exploring textures, stacking things, sorting things, undoing things, facilitating imaginative play, etc, etc. They are skills that you need as an adult.
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#66 of 91 Old 09-16-2008, 05:23 PM
 
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THANK YOU THANK YOU! for this post! I have always hated flashy, noisy, (TACKY!!) baby toys.. and have returned MANY toys that we got as gifts at my baby shower! it is good to hear that based on real research my intuitions about them were right! I feel like babies and children should have toys that allow them to be creative, not toys that just flash in front of them. I can't remember how many times my mom told me that we would play with the BOXES more than the toys most Christmases when we were little! I also have a theory that the 'epidemic' of ADD/ADHD in kids is due to the overstimulation and constant entertainment by these types of toys (also, I think that it is overdiagnosed).. but that's just a personal opinion/theory.. I will be interested to read more posts and do some more research on this topic (my DS is only 3 weeks old, so not really interested in toys just yet..).

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#67 of 91 Old 09-17-2008, 04:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
Great discussion! I'm amazed that it's gone on so long with nobody mentioning The Continuum Concept. This is a book about some of the things you're talking about--learning from being with adults in their everyday life. It is NOT a parenting manual, and it makes some unwarranted leaps of logic, but it is a VERY interesting book.
I haven't read this book, but heard about it in connection to AP (I live in Israel where English books are a bit thin on the ground - so I keep Amazon as busy as I can). I'll see if I can track it down.
Quote:
Here are a couple of my articles that you might find relevant:
http://blog.earthlingshandbook.org/2...lly-do-it.aspx
http://blog.earthlingshandbook.org/2...r-madness.aspx
I will get around to reading these.

About the walker issue - I get the impression these are a very important part of the American parenting experience. It sounds like you did have PT/OT like intervention in your childhood. For me anyway, this thread is not about bashing anyone's decisions or experiences.It is about understanding why I am making the choices that I am.

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Originally Posted by wannabe View Post
But the reality is also that we're raising children who will live in our technological society, not in a stone age culture. If they are raised without the sorts of fine motor skills that we take for granted and which are essential to our way of life (like the wrist motion involved in using a screw driver), they will be disadvantaged. A friend of mine was doing a project trying to help a really primitive tribe become responsible for the upkeep of donated resources and they had a real problem with screwdrivers. it's virtually impossible to teach an adult who's never tried it to use a screwdriver.
Of course you are right about our world being a technological world and the culture at large is a technological / consumerist culture. So it is understandable that parents would be concerned that by creating some sort of bubble of non reality they will be disadvantaging their children.
I do not see it quite like that. I think that technology has it's place (I love my computer). However, I learnt to use a computer when I was in my late teens. And I learnt the skills to use it for personal use and at work without any course and without ever having seen one until I was about 12 when they were brought into the South African market.
My point? I am not sure that children benefit from all our technology in the same way that we as adults do. In fact I am finding more and more information that suggests their exposure to screen time is actually detrimental to healthy development. This is not an easy idea for parents to consider as it requires a fundamental change in our parenting.

Essentially I think we do not need to be scared of technology, but we do need to think about when is it a good time to introduce it into our children's lives. And of course every family will be different and will have different issues at stake. A severely disabled child who can only communicate through a computer is obviously better off with a computer than without one.

I am a little bemused by the screwdriver story. I would have loved to have been there and seen just what was going on. I have worked with tribal people in Africa and in my experience it was not the screw driver that was the issue, but that the technology was not something that was treasured or understood to be helpful - ie cultural issues were the problem, not motor skills. (We assume that clean drinking water is what deprived people are dreaming of - but they are not. They have not been educated to know that clean drinking water has health benefits, and to their experience it was just an intrusion in their lives. We who have been educated to know that clean water saves lives are dumbfounded when this is not received with the same enthusiasm that it is given - sorry, I was just a bit offended when I read that these people couldn't manage the maintenance of their equipment as they cannot handle a screw driver. It seemed a bit too simplistic)

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Of course, you don't need to go and buy things which guarantee to stimulate their mind in five different ways (vomit), but exploring textures, stacking things, sorting things, undoing things, facilitating imaginative play, etc, etc. They are skills that you need as an adult.
Agreed!


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Originally Posted by LadyCatherine185 View Post
THANK YOU THANK YOU! for this post! I have always hated flashy, noisy, (TACKY!!) baby toys.. and have returned MANY toys that we got as gifts at my baby shower! it is good to hear that based on real research my intuitions about them were right! I feel like babies and children should have toys that allow them to be creative, not toys that just flash in front of them. I can't remember how many times my mom told me that we would play with the BOXES more than the toys most Christmases when we were little!
:

Quote:
I also have a theory that the 'epidemic' of ADD/ADHD in kids is due to the overstimulation and constant entertainment by these types of toys (also, I think that it is overdiagnosed).. but that's just a personal opinion/theory.. I will be interested to read more posts and do some more research on this topic (my DS is only 3 weeks old, so not really interested in toys just yet..).
I am cautious to have these kinds of theories. I do think there is a very broad phenomenon of our children being overstimulated and kinda bouncing off the walls as a result of this. I am not comfortable with ascribing this to any one child. If I were to treat a child (for the record I am an OT, but most of my working experience is in Hand Rehab _ orthopeadics and burns - although I am thinking a shift to paeds might be in order) I might suggest trying to change the child's environment. It would not harm and it might help. Of course it might not help, but it would be a good starting point. The 2 children I saw who lived totally rural lives without any toys as we know them and with no electricity, obviously needed something else other than a modified environment. It was actually very sad to see, as the one little girl was literally ruled with a stick. Her mum could only manage her under threat of beating - which was just awful for me to witness. I tried to explain that this was very wrong, but I didn't have any other options to offer the mum with a psychiatrist only coming to this rural hospital once every two months by aeroplane - and medication might not have been the best option anyway. But it was very hard to see. This also did change my mind on medication. I used to think that Ritalin was to be avoided at all costs, but after seeing this child I was not sure that I could justify daily beatings over Ritalin. And I could see that the mum was in desperate need of help.... but I digress.

My DH is aware of me pouring my heart out in this thread and keeps saying that I should not be too militant in my approach. He grew up with one TV and one computer for each person in the house and finds my ideas a bit 'out there'. Although he does see that treating children like little adults is not a good idea, and I am not being superior about this, just trying to figure out what is best for our family.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#68 of 91 Old 09-17-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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i guess i shouldve clarified a little more what i meant on the add theory.. i knowthere are definitely children out there who really have this *disorder* (is that the right word?) just because their brains are wired that way. I have a brother who fits this (and possibly a few other things, but he has never been tested/evaluated). I just meant that for those kids who, are just that, KIDS, of course they are going to have a hard time paying attention in school (what kid likes school anyway?) when all of their previous childhood has been spent with flashy, noisy toys in front of them. What teacher or textbook can compete with that? I just feel a lot of times it is overdiagnosed, and that those types of entertainment as a baby/toddler/small child overstimulates and causes children to have "ADD." I feel like I am rambling.. lol.. but basically, yes I agree that ADD/ADHD exists as a real disorder and that no matter what, some children will develop it. I also believe that overstimulation with the wrong things can "*cause*" some children to develop ADD and those are usually the overdiagnosed ones... again just a theory!!

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#69 of 91 Old 09-18-2008, 06:16 PM
 
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things which guarantee to stimulate their mind in five different ways (vomit)
For a moment there, I thought you meant vomit stimulates the mind in five different ways, and I was thinking, "I don't care if it's stimulating; I'm not going to let my kid play with vomit!"

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About the walker issue - I get the impression these are a very important part of the American parenting experience. It sounds like you did have PT/OT like intervention in your childhood.
Walkers were popular in the USA from about the 1950s to 1980s. They are out of favor now because of the horrible injuries that can result if a baby falls down a staircase in one. You rarely see them in stores now. But similar non-wheeled "activity centers" are fairly popular, and I think those deserve skepticism about whether they enrich babies in some way or are just a convenient way to keep babies occupied.

I did not have any professional intervention until I was 6 years old and my mother realized I still wasn't able to run without wobbling. It's from my parents' descriptions of my behavior before, with, and after the walker that I think it had a beneficial effect.

Anyway, my point was that some things can be very helpful tools for children with developmental problems, but it doesn't follow that these tools will help normal children develop faster or better. Many parents and marketers seem to draw that conclusion.

I agree that excessive screentime is a bad idea, particularly for very young children. There's lots of research to back this up! Another excellent book (as long as you're placing an order! ) is The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn. This is what my partner and I decided:
1. No screentime at all until 2 years old.
2. Limit screentime to <1 hour a day average, 2 hours a day maximum.
3. All screentime must be accompanied by a parent until at least 6 years old. (Maybe older; we'll see when we get there!) This means we are supervising the content, we know just what he saw and can talk about it afterward, and it helps us to keep Rule 2 because we don't have time for more TV/video than that ourselves, and we can't "park" the kid in front of it!
We have bent each of these rules every once in a while, but in general we stick to them, and we feel they've been very beneficial.

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#70 of 91 Old 09-19-2008, 03:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i guess i shouldve clarified a little more what i meant on the add theory..
Sorry if I came across a bit harsh
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i knowthere are definitely children out there who really have this *disorder* (is that the right word?) just because their brains are wired that way. I have a brother who fits this (and possibly a few other things, but he has never been tested/evaluated).
I think disorder is a word commonly used.

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I just meant that for those kids who, are just that, KIDS, of course they are going to have a hard time paying attention in school (what kid likes school anyway?) when all of their previous childhood has been spent with flashy, noisy toys in front of them. What teacher or textbook can compete with that?
I think you raise a very important point here! Children have become accustomed to being entertained, and this is very difficult to cope with as a parent and a teacher. Trying to catch their attention and keep things fun and entertaining. (not that children should not be having fun, but I am thinking there is a difference between doing fun stuff like exploring life and doing fun stuff like watching TV - or watching a car/train go around and around in circles)

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I just feel a lot of times it is overdiagnosed, and that those types of entertainment as a baby/toddler/small child overstimulates and causes children to have "ADD."
Yes, this is a similar thought to one that I have been having. That the way we bring babies and toddlers up today in Western Culture is kinda overstimulating and resulting in highly strung little people who just need some down time and a relaxing space to be in. Hence my agitation when I see *newborns* surrounded by cloth books full of colour and vivid patterns - my first reaction is "poor baby - give the poor child a chance to quietly 'arrive' and make sense of this new world. Why surround a newborn with things to stimulate their cognitive development? What is the rush???"

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I feel like I am rambling.. lol.. but basically, yes I agree that ADD/ADHD exists as a real disorder and that no matter what, some children will develop it. I also believe that overstimulation with the wrong things can "*cause*" some children to develop ADD and those are usually the overdiagnosed ones... again just a theory!!
Like I said before - I am sure there are children who would benefit from having their environment toned tone a LOT! And then there are those who would not be harmed by that, but would still need more than that! So, I guess essentially we agree

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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
For a moment there, I thought you meant vomit stimulates the mind in five different ways, and I was thinking, "I don't care if it's stimulating; I'm not going to let my kid play with vomit!"
:

Quote:
Walkers were popular in the USA from about the 1950s to 1980s. They are out of favor now because of the horrible injuries that can result if a baby falls down a staircase in one. You rarely see them in stores now. But similar non-wheeled "activity centers" are fairly popular, and I think those deserve skepticism about whether they enrich babies in some way or are just a convenient way to keep babies occupied.
Thanks for clarifying.

Quote:
I did not have any professional intervention until I was 6 years old and my mother realized I still wasn't able to run without wobbling. It's from my parents' descriptions of my behavior before, with, and after the walker that I think it had a beneficial effect.


Quote:
Anyway, my point was that some things can be very helpful tools for children with developmental problems, but it doesn't follow that these tools will help normal children develop faster or better. Many parents and marketers seem to draw that conclusion.
I was somehow wanting to say this, but I did not want to offend you. I do think equipment has a VERY important role to play for children with disabilities or developmental difficulties. And I do see the weird 'jump' happening that because this equipment helps children who need help, it's good at speeding things up for children developing 'normally'. Which I just fail to understand. Just to emphasize my point. A child with CP who is unable to stand can have a VAST improvement made in is/her life by being put in a stander. At an age where their peers are running around it can make a huge difference to be at standing hight for some activities instead of in a wheelchair and thus always shorter by a lot.

Quote:
I agree that excessive screentime is a bad idea, particularly for very young children. There's lots of research to back this up! Another excellent book (as long as you're placing an order! ) is The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn. This is what my partner and I decided:
1. No screentime at all until 2 years old.
2. Limit screentime to <1 hour a day average, 2 hours a day maximum.
3. All screentime must be accompanied by a parent until at least 6 years old. (Maybe older; we'll see when we get there!) This means we are supervising the content, we know just what he saw and can talk about it afterward, and it helps us to keep Rule 2 because we don't have time for more TV/video than that ourselves, and we can't "park" the kid in front of it!
We have bent each of these rules every once in a while, but in general we stick to them, and we feel they've been very beneficial.
Luckily I already have this book (phew!) and I love it. I grew up without TV until I was an adolescent and I would like to do the same in my family. I really do not know how this will be possible - but I'll cross that bridge when we get there! But I do like reading about how other families address these issue! Thank you

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I just meant that for those kids who, are just that, KIDS, of course they are going to have a hard time paying attention in school (what kid likes school anyway?) when all of their previous childhood has been spent with flashy, noisy toys in front of them. What teacher or textbook can compete with that?
I think you raise a very important point here! Children have become accustomed to being entertained, and this is very difficult to cope with as a parent and a teacher. Trying to catch their attention and keep things fun and entertaining. (not that children should not be having fun, but I am thinking there is a difference between doing fun stuff like exploring life and doing fun stuff like watching TV - or watching a car/train go around and around in circles)


The need to be entertained by educators extends to today's traditional-aged college students. Students evaluate their professors at the end of each semester on the degree to which their professor "had enthusiasm for the course material" or "stimulated my interest in the subject matter" or (worst of all) "kept my attention."

Yes, professors should do these things, but as a part of the intellectual endeavor, not, as I think students today have come to expect, to be entertaining.

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#72 of 91 Old 09-19-2008, 06:04 PM
 
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I just feel a lot of times it is overdiagnosed, and that those types of entertainment as a baby/toddler/small child overstimulates and causes children to have "ADD." I [snip] I also believe that overstimulation with the wrong things can "*cause*" some children to develop ADD and those are usually the overdiagnosed ones... again just a theory!!
Well I REALLY disagree with this idea.

I just don't think it has to do with flashy toys. I don't think you would get a child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD just because they got bored easily - that's not what ADHD IS anyway...ADHD in particular has to to with HYPER-awareness of your environment and sometimes (often) includes focus on one activity with the inability to focus on anything else (like what a teacher wants you to focus on). My DD is constantly scanning her environment and seems more aware of all the many things going on that most of us can tune out with no problem. If you had all that sensory information coming in without a good filter for it, you'd have attention issues too. How is that caused by flashy toys?

I also think (and other parents of ADD/ADHD kids have said something similar) that the correlation between ADD/ADHD and TV watching is not causal. And indeed most studies just note a correlation between the two, not a causal link. I think that the reason ADHD kids prefer to watch more television and are more likely to watch "hours" of it (assuming their parents are allowing it) is because of the way their brains are wired. I have one ADHD kid and one NT kid. My ADHD kid can just really veg if I let her (part of her hyper focusing). My NT child will watch for a while but then get bored and need to walk away. It just seems innate to me. There have been one or two interesting studies along these lines - I can try to dig them up again if you'.re interested. Obviously as the mom of an ADHD kid I've read several of the studies (rather than media reports about them which usually miss very subtle points these scientist are making).

See the reason why *I* think that ADD/ADHD is an "epidemic" (if indeed it actually is - I don't know the data so I couldn't say) is because of the VERY different expectations we have for children these days, especially in schools. Have you seen what kinds of behavior are expected by kindergarteners? I'm guessing that in the past, children probably started formal schooling later in life (6 or 7) and some of the behaviors were outgrown. I was specifically told that my child could not be "officially" diagnosed with ADD/ADHD until after age 7 because so many kids outgrow these behaviors. I think that teachers today are on the "lookout" for "problem behaviors" thus encouraging the diagnosis of kids who are on the cusp who otherwise might developmentally outgrow ADD/ADHD type behaviors.


Teachers may also have had the attitude in those old days "well kids will be kids" and sort of expect inattention and so on in their classroom (wasn't there also alot of rule by fear and intimidation in many classrooms? that may have cut down on the acting out part I guess). And kids who couldn't function well in class (by paying attention or whatever) may have just been given the lablel "dunce" or slow or something.

And I think that many people who grew up with the dunce label might have grown up to say "hey wait, I'm not stupid - I just think differently than you do" or "hey if I have a large coffee I notice I can think ALOT better - what's that all about"? Those people probably are better able to advocate for their children and with more understanding about ADD/ADHD, they are able to go back to teachers and say "my kid isn't slow, he/she has a condition that needs to be accomodated in order for them to learn better."

So I have a very different experience and "feeling" about the causes of the ADHD "epidemic" (if there is one, which I'm not sure about) as the parent of a child who is "at-risk" for ADHD (she's only 5 yet so too soon to officially diagnose but every teacher she's ever had has really struggled with her attention issues - so we're assuming based on her assessment that's what she's got).

So I hope you will reconsider your view after reading this and maybe finding out a little more about what ADD/ADHD actually IS.

peace,
robyn
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The need to be entertained by educators extends to today's traditional-aged college students. Students evaluate their professors at the end of each semester on the degree to which their professor "had enthusiasm for the course material" or "stimulated my interest in the subject matter" or (worst of all) "kept my attention."

Yes, professors should do these things, but as a part of the intellectual endeavor, not, as I think students today have come to expect, to be entertaining.
This reminds me of an approach I saw at university where classes were evaluated on their 'fun - ness' and lecturers who were more academically vigorous and less inclined to get the lecture hall humming with appreciation were not at all popular. Again, to be fair, there were very good and entertaining lecturers and very poor and boring lecturers. But I see your point, which is rather scary - for me.

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Well I REALLY disagree with this idea.

I just don't think it has to do with flashy toys. I don't think you would get a child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD just because they got bored easily - that's not what ADHD IS anyway..
I think you are making a very important point and I would just like to clarify something. If you do not feel comfortable sharing your personal story, that is fine of course.
Do you think that too many toys and an overstimulating environment make no difference to a child, whether they are NT or not? (I have to quickly say that until not long ago I was not familiar with the concept NT - and now I know of it in connection to the Spectrum) For me this is highly theoretical, but also comes from observation around me -
a child overwhelmed by toys and in general overwhelmed by life and expectations, can become a child who is 'highly strung'. I have said this before. I think that much of the way little children spend their time (occupation) does not support their healthy development...
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ADHD in particular has to to with HYPER-awareness of your environment and sometimes (often) includes focus on one activity with the inability to focus on anything else (like what a teacher wants you to focus on). My DD is constantly scanning her environment and seems more aware of all the many things going on that most of us can tune out with no problem. If you had all that sensory information coming in without a good filter for it, you'd have attention issues too. How is that caused by flashy toys?
Not being able to regulate your sensory perceptions is something that I think is part being wired that way, and part not having the opportunity to engage in activities that stimulate the integration and organization of sensory experience. It would obviously be too simplistic to say that flashy toys are the sole reason why a child has these problems. But, to my way of thinking, this does not mean that they are a good idea - or that they should be endorsed as a necessary part of childhood.

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I also think (and other parents of ADD/ADHD kids have said something similar) that the correlation between ADD/ADHD and TV watching is not causal. And indeed most studies just note a correlation between the two, not a causal link.
It's been some years since I was reading up on paediatric journals. While I am not convinced that TV watching per say CAUSES anything (from dyspraxia to ADD/ADHD), I am guessing that the activity of watching TV is replacing other activities that are essential to normal development. So in effect it could be said that TV caused these problems - but really it is that TV deprived a child of what they actually needed for healthy development. I heard trough a friend about a recent study that found that there was a direct correlation between dyspraxia and TV watching and the treatment of choice being SI (sensory integration). This was a rather profound thing for me to hear - and I suspect we will be hearing more and more about this.
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I think that the reason ADHD kids prefer to watch more television and are more likely to watch "hours" of it (assuming their parents are allowing it) is because of the way their brains are wired. I have one ADHD kid and one NT kid. My ADHD kid can just really veg if I let her (part of her hyper focusing). My NT child will watch for a while but then get bored and need to walk away. It just seems innate to me. There have been one or two interesting studies along these lines - I can try to dig them up again if you'.re interested. Obviously as the mom of an ADHD kid I've read several of the studies (rather than media reports about them which usually miss very subtle points these scientist are making).
Perhaps we are talking about the same thing? I think I agree with different brains being wired differently. However, I would be very concerned about a child vegging out in front of the TV - even if this is an experience they seek out. It's almost as if this child needs even more help to do the things that can actually help - get up and MOVE in an unstructured free way (although I am still thinking about this)
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See the reason why *I* think that ADD/ADHD is an "epidemic" (if indeed it actually is - I don't know the data so I couldn't say) is because of the VERY different expectations we have for children these days, especially in schools.
YES!

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Have you seen what kinds of behavior are expected by kindergarteners? I'm guessing that in the past, children probably started formal schooling later in life (6 or 7) and some of the behaviors were outgrown.
A bit - and it does not look right!

I
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was specifically told that my child could not be "officially" diagnosed with ADD/ADHD until after age 7 because so many kids outgrow these behaviors. I think that teachers today are on the "lookout" for "problem behaviors" thus encouraging the diagnosis of kids who are on the cusp who otherwise might developmentally outgrow ADD/ADHD type behaviors.
Interesting.
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Teachers may also have had the attitude in those old days "well kids will be kids" and sort of expect inattention and so on in their classroom (wasn't there also alot of rule by fear and intimidation in many classrooms? that may have cut down on the acting out part I guess). And kids who couldn't function well in class (by paying attention or whatever) may have just been given the lablel "dunce" or slow or something.
Yup

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And I think that many people who grew up with the dunce label might have grown up to say "hey wait, I'm not stupid - I just think differently than you do" or "hey if I have a large coffee I notice I can think ALOT better - what's that all about"? Those people probably are better able to advocate for their children and with more understanding about ADD/ADHD, they are able to go back to teachers and say "my kid isn't slow, he/she has a condition that needs to be accomodated in order for them to learn better"
This is a good thing obviously.

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So I have a very different experience and "feeling" about the causes of the ADHD "epidemic" (if there is one, which I'm not sure about) as the parent of a child who is "at-risk" for ADHD (she's only 5 yet so too soon to officially diagnose but every teacher she's ever had has really struggled with her attention issues - so we're assuming based on her assessment that's what she's got).
This is so hard. To be touched by this so personally. When I opened this thread, I wanted to share and develop my thoughts about 0-6 year developmental needs and how perhaps we are not meeting them with 'Tiny Love" "Taf Toys" "Tiny Tykes" "Baby Einstein", etc. That perhaps these toys/programmes/DVD's are not helping, and possibly even creating problems. I do not want anyone who has shared here to feel like they have to defend themselves or their decisions. However, I really do appreciate people sharing. So, Thank you.
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So I hope you will reconsider your view after reading this and maybe finding out a little more about what ADD/ADHD actually IS.

peace,
robyn
Amen.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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To the OP, one book I'd recommend (if no one else here has; I haven't read all the comments) is Lise Eliot's What's Going On In There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. She addresses a lot of the trends, but breaks down what is really happening in the brains of babies and small children at different stages of development.
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I have no idea where to post this... thought I would try here.

Basically I find that I am coming into conflict with most people around me on how to raise a child.... when it comes to babywearing, BFing, cosleeping, organic food, toys in moderation etc etc etc. Nothing new here, I guess most mamas on this board are in this situation in one way or another.

What I am trying to figure out is what ARE the developmental needs of our babies and young children.

My gut tells me that by incorporating my child into my life and letting him learn about my life, with my life objects in a way that he is not 'entertained', but rather left to explore, I will be meeting DS's developmental needs in a healthy way. Something seems very wrong to me about having babies and toddlers surrounded by bright noise and visual clutter without any 'down time'....

Also, DS is developing just fine, why would I want to 'stimulate' him with toys that 'teach' him? Surely he learns as much by sucking on, and playing with, a wooden spoon (I am talking about a 6 month old) as he does by garishly coloured expensive toys that have been marketed to parents as essential to development.

I am also thinking that it might not just be not necessary, but also perhaps over stimulating.... and therefore not actually that beneficial.... perhaps even a strain on the nervous system? (EEEK, I know this is not going to be a popular idea)

These thoughts come out of my conviction that TV is not a good idea for little children. This was confirmed for me when I heard of a study that links dypraxia (poor motor planning) with screen time - and the treatment??? PLAY! Outside, on swings and slides and see saws etc. Good old-fashioned stuff is actually just what our little children need. But now we pay lots of money to a professional to play with our children.

So, I am looking for two things:

1. Someone to contradict what I am thinking - get my brain cells moving

2. People who might have something to add. Here I am looking for links as well.

An idea that I am playing with is that the brain of an infant, a toddler, a young child and a school going child are all very different brains. With different needs, and different parts developing... ie initially the brain stem is the level that the brain of an infant is working on - ie all the reflexes.
Then the brain development moves up into the limbic area (with the reflexes integrated) and only when the child is older does the cortex actually start to develop. Kinda in line with Piaget's theory on cognitive development (the very little that I know).
I do know that perceptual development follows a progression from kinaesthetic experience, to a 3D, and then 2D, ie the child needs to move inside, on top, behind etc before he plays with blocks to learn about perceptual concepts and then finally it can happen on a page.

So, anyone out there thinking about this? Thought about this? Studied this?
This is a wonderful topic. I could go on and on about this topic but I'll be quick.

You ask
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what ARE the developmental needs of our babies and young children.
I won't go into many details but there is a lot of evidence and studies that suggest the best way to rear up a child is to adopt a kind of non-industrial parenting philosophy. In fact, this has been debated for years by different people. For the most part it is either dismissed as a form of nonsense or it resonates very well with the reader and they make some changes to the way they do things in their homes. I personally think there is a lot of truth to some of the books. Others do tend to over do it. However, I have a feeling that within the next 20-30 years there will be more people drawn to this kind of non-industrial living/parenting because I am beginning to hear more parents discuss the effects of raising "IPOD" children.

So...we'll see.
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i don't have much to add, i'm a new mom to a 2 month old baby boy :, but this is a great thread with a lot of good ideas/thoughts.

i do know that i will def. be an 'explore the world' mama, touch/taste/smell/hear are so important and with a variety of things, everyday objects to nature outside.

i will also have toys for him, too. the right kind of toy. blocks full of shapes/colors/textures, train tracks.. things to build and really interact with.

hes a baby right now and his stimulation comes from us mostly. he does enjoy a few of the squeeky/crunchy in spots/different fabrics/stick up soft toys you hang from the play gym.. but i don'y rely on those for his growth. i talk to him like i would talk to an adult (i am guilty of the VERY occasional baby voice w/ him), i describe things to him, show him stuff.. its great b/c you can see in his eyes that he is just soaking it up.

the problem with most of the toys for the 0-3 kids is i think alot of parents use them as a babysitter to take time away from their LO, and while i def. understand the needs of that.. at least in the first few years we should be the stimulation in their little brains.


good thread though
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#77 of 91 Old 09-20-2008, 08:52 PM
 
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As I read this thread I wonder if Steiner Education would be your kind of thing.
It incorporates a lot of what you talk about.

Steiner schooling is based on the idea that children learn best at a pace that is dictated by their natural understandings and development and not by being pushed to accelerate.
Technology is kept to a minimum in the younger years, though included in late highschool.
Steiner isn't concerned with having students "increase their cognitive understanding" at a rapid pace either - which suits how you feel. Students dont learn to read until 7 or so. Instead understanding one's culture and environment are deemed more important as a child.

Steiner Developmental Theory

The structure of the education follows Steiner's pedagogical model of child development,[20] which views childhood as divided overall into seven-year developmental stages, each having its own learning requirements;[21] the stages are similar to those described by Piaget.[22] The approach has been termed "the most complete articulation of an evolutionary developmental K-12 curriculum and creative teaching methodology".[23]

According to Waldorf pedagogy:

Early childhood learning is largely experiential, imitative and sensory-based.[24] The education emphasizes learning through practical activities.[25]
Elementary school years (age 7-14), learning is regarded as artistic and imaginative. In these years, the approach emphasizes developing children's "feeling life" and artistic expression.[26][21]
During adolescence, to meet the developing capacity for abstract thought and conceptual judgment[25] the emphasis is on developing intellectual understanding and ethical thinking, including taking social responsibility.[21]
This theory of child development is founded in turn upon the Anthroposophical view of the human being.


Steiner learning in infancy believes that children should learn by imitating their mother in the first 2 yrs or so, just by being with her a child learns all they need to know at that stage.

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#78 of 91 Old 09-20-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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Haven't read all the posts, but I was intrigued by (and kept bookmarked) this article from NPR Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skill which touches on a lot of what is being discussed here.
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#79 of 91 Old 09-20-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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I just did a search and there are some Steiner schools in Israel (p.100)

Here's two with links

Harduf Waldorf School
http://www.harduf.org.il

Ramat ha Sharon
www.urimschool.org

If you have one in your area you should check them out and see if they have any playgroups to socialise with They'd also have heaps of info on child & infant development to check out

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To the OP, one book I'd recommend (if no one else here has; I haven't read all the comments) is Lise Eliot's What's Going On In There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. She addresses a lot of the trends, but breaks down what is really happening in the brains of babies and small children at different stages of development.
I checked this out on Amazon and it looks FANTASTIC! Reading over the chapters and intro - I might just have to go ahead and order

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Originally Posted by I-AM-Mother View Post
This is a wonderful topic. I could go on and on about this topic but I'll be quick.

However, I have a feeling that within the next 20-30 years there will be more people drawn to this kind of non-industrial living/parenting because I am beginning to hear more parents discuss the effects of raising "IPOD" children.

So...we'll see.
I totally agree!!

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i don't have much to add, i'm a new mom to a 2 month old baby boy :, but this is a great thread with a lot of good ideas/thoughts.
Congratulations!

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the problem with most of the toys for the 0-3 kids is i think alot of parents use them as a babysitter to take time away from their LO, and while i def. understand the needs of that.. at least in the first few years we should be the stimulation in their little brains.


good thread though
Yup, we covered this earlier with these toys and TV serving a purpose for the parent, but not being the best option for the child - being the better of two options when it comes to being a mum alone at home with more than one child.


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As I read this thread I wonder if Steiner Education would be your kind of thing.
It incorporates a lot of what you talk about
.
Well, this is quite funny. I was educated in a Waldorf school...

Quote:
Steiner schooling is based on the idea that children learn best at a pace that is dictated by their natural understandings and development and not by being pushed to accelerate.
Technology is kept to a minimum in the younger years, though included in late highschool.
Steiner isn't concerned with having students "increase their cognitive understanding" at a rapid pace either - which suits how you feel. Students dont learn to read until 7 or so. Instead understanding one's culture and environment are deemed more important as a child.
I actually started a whole thread on just this topic - well part of it anyway. I agree with a lot of the essential elements in child development, but am a bit concerned by how it is brought to realization.... I guess I am saying there is a lot of potential for me to disagree with teachers in Waldorf Schools - but I suspect I will not agree with most teachers in ANY school....
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=944853
Basically this thread goes into the pros and cons of Waldorf education



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Originally Posted by _betsy_ View Post
Haven't read all the posts, but I was intrigued by (and kept bookmarked) this article from NPR Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skill which touches on a lot of what is being discussed here.
Will get around to reading this link.

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Originally Posted by Greenmama2AJ View Post
I just did a search and there are some Steiner schools in Israel (p.100)

Here's two with links

Harduf Waldorf School
http://www.harduf.org.il

Ramat ha Sharon
www.urimschool.org

If you have one in your area you should check them out and see if they have any playgroups to socialise with They'd also have heaps of info on child & infant development to check out
Thanks!

I actually checked this out. I was rather disappointed. Not by either of these two schools, but by a school closer to where I live that had a parent body that were a little too 'wafty' for me. If I could find a Waldorf school with a very down to earth approach I would be happy - and so far the only one I know of in Israel is in Jerusalem.

But it is funny that you thought of Waldorf in connection to what I have been writing.... I guess I do believe a lot of what is proposed and am fascinated to be finding modern science backing this up (while in the schools themselves there often is not much awareness of this)... but this is a huge topic in and of itself.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#81 of 91 Old 09-21-2008, 03:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, got into the old fashioned play skills and I love it!

Here are a few bits:
Quote:
"It's interesting to me that when we talk about play today, the first thing that comes to mind are toys," says Chudacoff. "Whereas when I would think of play in the 19th century, I would think of activity rather than an object."
Quote:
It turns out that all that time spent playing make-believe actually helped children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline.
Quote:
"Today's 5-year-olds were acting at the level of 3-year-olds 60 years ago, and today's 7-year-olds were barely approaching the level of a 5-year-old 60 years ago," Bodrova explains. "So the results were very sad."
Quote:
Despite the evidence of the benefits of imaginative play, however, even in the context of preschool young children's play is in decline. According to Yale psychological researcher Dorothy Singer, teachers and school administrators just don't see the value.
Quote:
It seems that in the rush to give children every advantage — to protect them, to stimulate them, to enrich them — our culture has unwittingly compromised one of the activities that helped children most. All that wasted time was not such a waste after all.
I basically could have cut and copied the whole article. It is fascinating reading for me... but perhaps I need to think more critically about it? It just kinda makes sense to me.
I really recommend reading the whole article

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I think you are making a very important point and I would just like to clarify something. If you do not feel comfortable sharing your personal story, that is fine of course.
Do you think that too many toys and an overstimulating environment make no difference to a child, whether they are NT or not? (I have to quickly say that until not long ago I was not familiar with the concept NT - and now I know of it in connection to the Spectrum) For me this is highly theoretical, but also comes from observation around me -
a child overwhelmed by toys and in general overwhelmed by life and expectations, can become a child who is 'highly strung'. I have said this before. I think that much of the way little children spend their time (occupation) does not support their healthy development...
Okay sorry I'm just getting back online and wanted to respond to your thoughtful response...

I've been thinking about it alot offline. And I think what maybe we're really talking about is something more like "developing concentration" or something like that. I definitely think that toys with an "instantaneous" payoff (bells, whistles whatever) or that "do too much" for you probably do NOT foster development of concentration. I can definitely see where the ability to concentrate on a task that takes a while to pay off is something that has fallen by the wayside in many childhood experiences (and maybe in our society overall).

I think that if you have an NT (neurotypical) child who watches lots of TV, has video games, has toys that whir and flash at the touch of a button and so on you are giving that child experiences that are based on almost instant rewards. I can see how a child might choose the train with the bells on it over a simple wooden train where they have to supply their OWN noises. In some sense they are being "deprived" of the opportunity to develop patience and concentration. Now there are probably plenty of kids who have all the flashy toys etc who are ALSO encouraged to develop concentration - either through the arts, music, sports, reading, whatever. And of course kids who never had all the flashy toys probably have a HIGHLY developed sense of concentration because that's the enviornment in which they were raised and that skill has developed further. But I'm sure there are many who just don't get as much exposure to those opportunities. So when they hit a school environment, they expect to be "entertained" because they are looking for the instant payoff.

I don't hear anyone really talking about or extolling the virtues of patience much anymore (weren't schools known for being hard work back in the day and there was NO instant reward expected?). Instead, it seems like schools are trying to make themselves more "instant reward" kinds of places. And the idea that kids can't concentrate has more to do with the fact that it has never been properly cultivated in them....

Anyway, I guess I'm saying that none of this really seems like it causes ADD/ADHD to me. ADD/ADHD is something else entirely as far as I can tell. It has to do with the quality of a childs concentration but it is more of a disorder of a jumbled hierarchy of what to pay attention to first in one's environment. Whereas the NT kids we're talking about have more of just an underdeveloped ability to concentrate on ANYTHING that doesn't have an immediate payoff or attention-getting response. They may fully understand that they are supposed to do the boring math problem, but they just don't see the reward. But an ADD/ADHD kid may become distracted by the feel of their pencil or a stray mark on the ceiling or something and just kind of "forget" that the math problem is even in front of them.

(Of course it occurs to me that our society deals with ADD in an instant reward type fashion because we'd rather medicate it than help these kids develop their concentration skills to the best of their ability or to find methods to cope with their unusual way of "paying attention" to their environment. And one could very well argue that by having an environment free of the flashy toys, you have a better chance of having these kids focus on the more important parts of their environment. Of course just a picture with many colors or even a stray mark on the wall is enough to distract my child from the task at hand LOL She'd have to be in a VERY boring environment to help her focus her attention. Anyway that's an aside I guess.)

Anyway, it's an interesting question overall and one I think worth thinking about.

peace,
robyn
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#83 of 91 Old 09-23-2008, 05:52 PM
 
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We also don't buy the flashy stuff, and only have a few things (that mostly live in the kitchen cabinet and the kids have forgotten them) that other people have given us. I, too, don't see the value in a garbled voice teaching my children the alphabet. I pull them out for "me" time as well...but only when I'm really desperate. I'm much more likely to pull out my hair curlers and turn them loose, or to dump the silverware drawer on the floor for exploration.

My children are allowed to play with everything. I don't take small/dangerous things out of the baby's hands. I just stay RIGHT there. (okay, they don't play with containers of bleach, or...). But, ds (who is 1) has played with a knife. I stay with them and explain the different parts. If he finds something tiny on the floor, I don't take it away. I explore it with him until he's done with it. (or if he insists on carrying it around, I just watch him until he puts it down.) Our kids have free reign of my husband's woodworking shop...dd rides her tricycle around his work bench, and ds carries around dowel rods, tape measures, screwdrivers, etc. They push the buttons on the alarm clock, the flush the potty over and over, they dump the clothes out of the laundry basket (and then I take them for a ride). If one of them takes a fancy to "go exploring", I follow them, pointing things out along the way. Sometimes I stay back just enough to prevent them from knowing I am there...just to let them feel free and unencumbered.

That said, including brightly colored infant toys, of which we have a small collection, I try to get as much into their hands as possible. Let them fully explore anything they desire. Shiny bright rattle, daddy's watch, mama's necklace, shoe laces, anything. I make it a point to sort things on the floor in front of them...money, buttons, my ribbon box, electronic stuff (phone cords, batteries, extension cords, computer parts, etc.). They can learn so fast...I think this is the time to show them all I possibly can...and not limit them to "things for children". My children expect to be with me, and they expect to be free to do what I am doing and to learn about it in their own way at their own pace. I hand them all sorts of stuff, but if they put it down without even looking at it...fine. Maybe I'll give them the same thing next week.

I agree with the idea that children need routine and repitition, but I believe that they largely supply that for themselves. Sure, mealtimes, bedtimes, and a rough outline of our day follows the same pattern, and they DO love to know what comes next. But I think the important part is knowing your child, and in what sort of environment they do best. DD was very flexible, and as long as I gave her a bit of warning was very happy to do whatever, whenever. DS needs it pretty much the same or we deal with lots of meltdowns. That doesn't mean the same exact thing everyday, but it does mean he needs to be in bed by 8p.

DH and I have discussed that until about age 5 or 6, we are defining what our children view as "normal." Children playing in the other room out of touch with adults with flashy fake things is NOT normal. (Please understand, that I, too, think moderation is key. These parenting styles are not mutally exclusive). I'm not raising my children to be children...I'm raising them to be adults. So, I have no desire to create a preschool subculture. They are just part of my life, and when they are grown, will continue to live their own lives. Sure, I add lots of interesting bits to their day...they have a lot to see and encounter, having never had these opportunities before...but I do reject greatly the idea of socializing and herding children.

I have no studies to back up where I stand, but feel that I have a ton of antedoctal evidence to support my plan to continue as I am. As opposed to their playmates (not all...but all of those who don't parent the way we do), our children are FAR ahead developmentally...physically, emotionally, mentally, and yes, even socially. They don't neccessarily play well with other children, but they can converse beautifully with an adult. And if the other children are willing to move out of their "dora brain" and really play, my kids can do that, too. And we've not forced them one bit. We sing, we play, we explore, and they are thriving. I come from a large family, and one that follows these same philosophies, and the bit I was reading from a pp about how 5 year olds in our culture barely measure up to 3yo 60 years ago I think is probably very accurate. In our family, 3 is the big year. Across the board, with rare exception and with no pushing on the part of the grown-ups, kids in our family figure out how to read, ride a bike, tie their shoes, do simple math (maybe even some multiplication and division), make a swing go, etc at 3 years old. Things that children typically learn in kindergarten. Note I said "figure out", not "are taught". We make casual observations that let the children put it together on their own. Like, see, I read "too", because when two o's are side by side they say "ooooo". Look at that tree over there...I think maple trees are so pretty. See how this one has 5 parts on it's leaves? We're just talking, thinking, and noticing out loud. Our children do the same thing. People are always floored what dd knows, but really, I spent very little time "teaching", and a lot of time "exposing" and "including" and answering HER questions about things she's seen. Just last night she said (after several days of going down the street to watch some constuction), "Mama, when you swim your hand does the same thing a backhoe does when it scoops. Except a backhoe is in the middle. See, I can be a backhoe!" And she proceeded to demonstrate. That was with no prompting from me, except our daily trip to watch the backhoes this week and last.

I don't value, by the way, early learning for the sake of early learning. And I don't think that it makes better, smarter adults, per se. BUT...I do think that the opportunity to learn so easily, naturally, and quickly gives children a self-confidence that struggling to learn through artifical means can never do. My kids EXPECT that they CAN figure things out. They know they just have to look at it a little longer, twist this piece, ask someone a few questions. And they are not stuck "inside the box". So, I know that when they are doing advanced math later and have to struggle through a book...they'll be confident that they CAN do it...they are smart, they are strong, etc. I've given them the chance to prove themselves to themselves.

So, what do small children NEED developmentally? They need to be shown everything real they possibly can. They need to be gently guided and exposed to things they didn't know existed, and then be free to explore them at their own pace and in their own way. They need someone to sit beside them on the swing outside and comment on every passing car (blue truck, gold car, oooo...look! a fire truck!), etc, and to share the excitement and thrill of an exploration and an adventure. They need plenty of things they can touch and explore (and even break). But flashy toys and tv and preschool programs and socialization with other children in a school setting (or even playgroup)...absolutely not.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#84 of 91 Old 09-25-2008, 01:59 AM
 
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Okay this is totally off topic but your posting reminded me of a study I read about Japanese versus American mothers....the American moms tended to point out THINGS in the environment (look a mail truck!) while Japanese moms tended to focus on the relationship between people (what do we say to the mailman?)...just thought it was interesting and your post made me think of it.
peace,
robyn
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by hippymomma69 View Post
Okay sorry I'm just getting back online and wanted to respond to your thoughtful response...

I've been thinking about it alot offline. And I think what maybe we're really talking about is something more like "developing concentration" or something like that. I definitely think that toys with an "instantaneous" payoff (bells, whistles whatever) or that "do too much" for you probably do NOT foster development of concentration. I can definitely see where the ability to concentrate on a task that takes a while to pay off is something that has fallen by the wayside in many childhood experiences (and maybe in our society overall).
Thanks for responding again. I really am learning so much from what you are saying.
And I had not thought of 'developing concentration', although as I think about it now, I see what you mean.
I am guessing that concentration is part of a larger 'package', including a happy, healthy, self confident, curious, secure, active etc child.... I think there is too much focus on building cognitive skills at too young of an age. I think little children need different things to older children and babies needs still different things from little children. And the way I interpreted what I read about old-fashioned play skills left me with the impression that a child/children left to 'do their thing' meet their needs in a way that structured programmes loose, because they are structured. And that our modern conveniences are not conveniences for little children.... sorry for little lecture I got a bit carried away. I guess I was just trying to say that I am sure more and more benefits of free imaginative play are going to be found, and then it will become a specialised therapy (which scares me - the idea of kids needing therapy in order to play) which parents will pay high fees for when, IMO, it is totally not justified. Well almost totally not justified. I am sure a talented therapist could build a programme specific to the child, but I am guessing that it could hardly beat children being left alone to play uninterrupted. Sorry, I really am just spouting off here, and I was wanting to agree with you

Quote:
I think that if you have an NT (neurotypical) child who watches lots of TV, has video games, has toys that whir and flash at the touch of a button and so on you are giving that child experiences that are based on almost instant rewards. I can see how a child might choose the train with the bells on it over a simple wooden train where they have to supply their OWN noises. In some sense they are being "deprived" of the opportunity to develop patience and concentration. Now there are probably plenty of kids who have all the flashy toys etc who are ALSO encouraged to develop concentration - either through the arts, music, sports, reading, whatever. And of course kids who never had all the flashy toys probably have a HIGHLY developed sense of concentration because that's the enviornment in which they were raised and that skill has developed further. But I'm sure there are many who just don't get as much exposure to those opportunities. So when they hit a school environment, they expect to be "entertained" because they are looking for the instant payoff.
I think we essentially are agreeing here


Quote:
I don't hear anyone really talking about or extolling the virtues of patience much anymore (weren't schools known for being hard work back in the day and there was NO instant reward expected?). Instead, it seems like schools are trying to make themselves more "instant reward" kinds of places. And the idea that kids can't concentrate has more to do with the fact that it has never been properly cultivated in them....
I am guessing kids (in general) are not building the skills to be patient and work hard for something... not in a disposable society where it is cheaper to buy something new than fix something older.

Quote:
Anyway, I guess I'm saying that none of this really seems like it causes ADD/ADHD to me. ADD/ADHD is something else entirely as far as I can tell. It has to do with the quality of a childs concentration but it is more of a disorder of a jumbled hierarchy of what to pay attention to first in one's environment. Whereas the NT kids we're talking about have more of just an underdeveloped ability to concentrate on ANYTHING that doesn't have an immediate payoff or attention-getting response. They may fully understand that they are supposed to do the boring math problem, but they just don't see the reward. But an ADD/ADHD kid may become distracted by the feel of their pencil or a stray mark on the ceiling or something and just kind of "forget" that the math problem is even in front of them.
Good distinction (for me)

Quote:
(Of course it occurs to me that our society deals with ADD in an instant reward type fashion because we'd rather medicate it than help these kids develop their concentration skills to the best of their ability or to find methods to cope with their unusual way of "paying attention" to their environment. And one could very well argue that by having an environment free of the flashy toys, you have a better chance of having these kids focus on the more important parts of their environment. Of course just a picture with many colors or even a stray mark on the wall is enough to distract my child from the task at hand LOL She'd have to be in a VERY boring environment to help her focus her attention. Anyway that's an aside I guess.)
Again, good point about reward and the difficulty of maintaining attention - some more thoughts on that later

Quote:
Anyway, it's an interesting question overall and one I think worth thinking about.

peace,
robyn
Definitely!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Just1More View Post
We also don't buy the flashy stuff, and only have a few things (that mostly live in the kitchen cabinet and the kids have forgotten them) that other people have given us. I, too, don't see the value in a garbled voice teaching my children the alphabet. I pull them out for "me" time as well...but only when I'm really desperate. I'm much more likely to pull out my hair curlers and turn them loose, or to dump the silverware drawer on the floor for exploration.
"me time" is a serious problem...

Quote:
DH and I have discussed that until about age 5 or 6, we are defining what our children view as "normal." Children playing in the other room out of touch with adults with flashy fake things is NOT normal. (Please understand, that I, too, think moderation is key. These parenting styles are not mutally exclusive). I'm not raising my children to be children...I'm raising them to be adults. So, I have no desire to create a preschool subculture. They are just part of my life, and when they are grown, will continue to live their own lives. Sure, I add lots of interesting bits to their day...they have a lot to see and encounter, having never had these opportunities before...but I do reject greatly the idea of socializing and herding children.
The part that I highlighted grabbed my attention, as it is true. I do see many people jumping from this idea to 'lets treat little children like adults' - which I do not think is true.

Quote:
I don't value, by the way, early learning for the sake of early learning. And I don't think that it makes better, smarter adults, per se. BUT...I do think that the opportunity to learn so easily, naturally, and quickly gives children a self-confidence that struggling to learn through artifical means can never do. My kids EXPECT that they CAN figure things out. They know they just have to look at it a little longer, twist this piece, ask someone a few questions. And they are not stuck "inside the box". So, I know that when they are doing advanced math later and have to struggle through a book...they'll be confident that they CAN do it...they are smart, they are strong, etc. I've given them the chance to prove themselves to themselves.
I liked this (bolded part). It makes sense to me.
Quote:
So, what do small children NEED developmentally? They need to be shown everything real they possibly can. They need to be gently guided and exposed to things they didn't know existed, and then be free to explore them at their own pace and in their own way. They need someone to sit beside them on the swing outside and comment on every passing car (blue truck, gold car, oooo...look! a fire truck!), etc, and to share the excitement and thrill of an exploration and an adventure. They need plenty of things they can touch and explore (and even break). But flashy toys and tv and preschool programs and socialization with other children in a school setting (or even playgroup)...absolutely not.
Agreed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hippymomma69 View Post
Okay this is totally off topic but your posting reminded me of a study I read about Japanese versus American mothers....the American moms tended to point out THINGS in the environment (look a mail truck!) while Japanese moms tended to focus on the relationship between people (what do we say to the mailman?)...just thought it was interesting and your post made me think of it.
peace,
robyn
Very funky! And rather NOT off topic. It makes sense. And I love to think about differences and similarities between cultures in relation to many things, but child rearing is a favourite topic for me now.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#86 of 91 Old 10-22-2008, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I went ahead and ordered "What's going on in there?" by Lise Eliot and also got "Your growing child's mind" by Jane Healy. Just very briefly, the Healy book is totally brilliant and I am liking the Eliot book too.

So much of what I have been thinking and theorizing about seems to be confirmed in the Healy book from how the brain develops to how to stimulate the brain. Just wonderful. I wish this was more common knowledge.

I need to sit down and read the book thoroughly, but for now, I am loving the reptilian brain, the mammalian brain and the human brain.... oh and just about every page has something I think is beautiful.

Anyway, Fisher Price and Taf Toys etc are more often than not missing the boat I would guess. (Although MIL, who LOVES all things plastic and educational and electronic etc etc etc, did find an open ended plastic Fisher Price toy after much searching)

:::::::::

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#87 of 91 Old 10-22-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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I am interested in this thread, and it's fun to read all the POVs as I have a 10 yo, 8 yo, 4 yo and 2 yo. Very fascinating to watch their development.

Someone mentioned "playing with boxes" at Christmas, but I want to add my list of "toys" that dd1 especially loved, but everyone did between 5 mos and 2 years:

plastic jars with lids
egg cartons, cardboard and/or plastic
plastic easter eggs
small food boxes (pasta, cereal, etc.)
small individual cups (yogurt, applesauce)
water bottles
juice bottles
a "bean box" (like a sand box, but with beans) (for older than a 1 yo)
Paper towels
foil
wax paper

There's more, but that's what I can think of right now. Babies and toddlers are so fascinating ...
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#89 of 91 Old 10-23-2008, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post
I am interested in this thread, and it's fun to read all the POVs as I have a 10 yo, 8 yo, 4 yo and 2 yo. Very fascinating to watch their development.

Someone mentioned "playing with boxes" at Christmas, but I want to add my list of "toys" that dd1 especially loved, but everyone did between 5 mos and 2 years:

plastic jars with lids
egg cartons, cardboard and/or plastic
plastic easter eggs
small food boxes (pasta, cereal, etc.)
small individual cups (yogurt, applesauce)
water bottles
juice bottles
a "bean box" (like a sand box, but with beans) (for older than a 1 yo)
Paper towels
foil
wax paper

There's more, but that's what I can think of right now. Babies and toddlers are so fascinating ...
WONDERFUL!

Getting into the Healy book a bit more, I am finding that there are things I do not totally agree with, but most of what she writes and concludes is very refreshing.

Earlier in the thread someone mentioned the 'American Question' put to Piaget on speeding cognitive development up. In Healy's book she adds that he said it's not about how fast you can grow intelligence, but how far. I like that.....

And also she addresses motivation to learn, and how this has to do with the limbic system (emotions) and even the cerebellum (so keep those young kids moving!) And how by being a responsive parent to your infant you are already building a positive learning experience... and she touches on attention, being able to channel out 'distractions' by choosing what to focus on..... Gosh, it is a lot! And it is very inspiring to take on the responsibility of creating an environment that will foster positive learning.

I think I could pretty much quote most of the book..... but I am known for getting carried away with myself when I get excited... :

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#90 of 91 Old 10-23-2008, 04:58 PM
 
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I used to play with "garbage" too. One of my favorite childhood toys was a gigantic audio mixer (box with lots of knobs) that my dad brought home because somebody was throwing it away; it was my spaceship control panel, etc. So I've let my child adopt many discarded and everyday items as toys. It's good for the imagination.

Mama to a boy EnviroKid treehugger.gif 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby baby.gif!

I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more. computergeek2.gif

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