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Hello! My problem isn't a major one in the big scheme of things, but I am curious how others deal with their partner's different philosophies on toys/tv/etc. I am newly pregnant, and my husband is very involved and supportive BUT i can already see we are going to have a lil' trouble dealing with the world of kid materialism.

He is all gung-ho about licenced products (e.g. Disney) or plastic "stuff" whereas I am much more Waldorf...open ended and natural materials. He thinks I am being crazy hippy. It isn't that I won't allow our future progeny to watch Star Wars or Frozen, but I don't want toys that require no imagination. I am a teacher, I see what a lack of imagination does to kids. I want my kiddos to be able to play as enthusiastically with a stick as they do a licensed figurine.

How do you balance two different philosophies such as this in your home?
 

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It is really quite difficult to prevent a child from imaginative play. Parents who do so typically have very serious overriding concerns that they are dealing with. You can sit your child in front of the tv all day, every day, but you would generally only make the effort (it is a big effort, especially with very young children) because of a very big problem, like gang violence in the neighborhood, or inability to afford safe childcare from providers who would be willing and able to take your child outside, or a major parental health problem. (We got our family through my cancer with lots of help from the DCAU and Marvel franchise action movies.)

Kids don't play the same games with sticks that they play with action figures, but children with access to sticks inevitably choose to play with them. Action figures with no imagination applied are a good deal duller than dirt. Action figure games tend to have strong social components, and fewer physical injuries. Usually.
 

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What's best is for kids to have positive relationships with both parents. If you husband enjoys bonding with your child over Star Wars, it's really a beautiful thing and not something to see a "bad" because it isn't part of the party line for Waldorf.


My DH and I had same discussion you are having now. It all worked out. In the end, he came to really appreciate the open ended toys made of quality materials. Some of them we have now put away for our grandchildren. He lightened up on the materialism when he saw what it actually looked like in their rooms and how little staying power some toys compared to more open ended one. And I came to appreciate our kids knowing about pop culture because it made it easier for them to relate to their peers, which is actually really important. I found out that some plastic toys didn't actually hurt our kids and that I didn't need to control everything for my family to be just fine.


As far as nerd culture (since you mention Star Wars) our kids would have discovered it on their own so eventually it became a non issue. Those light sabers are almost as useful as sticks, and cos-play is just an excuse for kids to keep dressing up long past the age when non-nerds outgrow pretend play.


While it might seem like it would be easier to make these decisions if you guys saw stuff the same way, in hindsight, I think it was really beneficial for my kids to have parents who were sort of opposites. It gave them different experiences and the ability to see that different view points can both be valuable. I think it gave them a lot of space to just become who they are.
 

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I think it's important to define your values and him to define his values and look for common ground. There are so many issues over which to disagree, and it's important to choose your battles. He may have very well had some great experiences and memories with Disney action figures as a little boy, and he could be reliving his childhood memories through some of them. He might totally rock the Spiderman imitation and it could be a lot of fun.

On the other hand, if he were to routinely dismiss the Waldorf stuff and put it down, mock it, etc and try to make you feel inferior for it....then that's a big problem.

If it's any help, my dd's had both natural toys, and the licenced swag. I have a video of dd making two almonds talk to one another. Then probably in that same play, she may have taken those almonds to a Fisher Price play house, with a Barbie squished into it, adorned with sticks and leaves. It's the interaction with the toys that makes them imaginative. Imo, it's probably the passive screen time and lack of creativity role modelling that's the bigger issue driving some of the lack of imaginative play and entitlement in some children.
 

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Easy! Get a little of both kinds of toy but not too much of either. They're just toys and soon you'll be tripping over them all and won't even really see which kind they are.
 

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I agree, there's no reason not to integrate both.

Most parents of a toddler have memory of buying a special toy only for their kid to play with the box instead. Kiddo has emptied out diaper boxes to play inside them and also plays under chairs and tables. Most toddlers find ways to do open ended play even if they aren't given specific toys.

This may start being a concern around school age, but just watch your child. I modified, made clothes for, and invented storis for licensed toys- most kids do.

On the other hand, if he were to routinely dismiss the Waldorf stuff and put it down, mock it, etc and try to make you feel inferior for it....then that's a big problem.
The OP is openly disdainful of his preferences and refers to the toys he wants for their child as plastic "stuff". She's accusing his parenting style of producing an imaginatively stunted child before the kid's even born.

I think they both have an unhealthy approach to this conversation and are far too judgemental of differing viewpoints.
 
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Tell him you want your kiddo to be able to choose their own favorite characters. And that's going to start around age 5 or 6, not 2. My daughter ended up very interested in Pokemon and My Little Pony, two shows that neither of us had been interested in as kids. All the general blocks and things we got for her before that fit perfectly as houses and mysterious forests etc for the characters that *she* chose for herself.

If we had loaded up on our favorites, well most of those are choking hazards anyway, but we would've had to get the blocks and stuff for the houses etc as well as the characters. It was way better to have the open play stuff already on hand even after she started really wanting characters.
 

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There's lots of licensed stuff that isn't toys that maybe your husband could get his way on... my daughter has a Barbie toothbrush, a Frozen back pack, Minnie Mouse shoes... those things all work exactly the same as the non-cartoon decorated versions.

Same goes for craft supples and play doh or lego/duplo... this stuff all gets used exactly the same way as a nonlicenced version of the same toy does. The gimmicky toys that need batteries and can only be used one way don't get a lot of attention when there are more interesting things around to do.
 

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Tell him you want your kiddo to be able to choose their own favorite characters. And that's going to start around age 5 or 6, not 2.
Kids can absolutely choose their favorite characters at 2. Mickey Mouse has been a favorite for over a year now and kiddo's 2.5.
His lovey is Rosie from Thomas the tank engine. NO idea why, we found her while trying to declutter the house and he just took a shine to her. Gets really excited when she's in an episode, but she's not a common character from what I've seen.

We also have open ended toys, not that you can keep kids away from open ended play.
 

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I would say that if you want to stimulate a child's imagination stay far away from the movies and books but that the toys are less of a concern. For example, I loved playing with Barbies and mine where cowboys, mothers, ran orphanages, adventurers, and often solved mysteries. When first got a Barbie book and cassette I was shocked at what an idiot Barbie seemed to be. All she cared about was clothes and was a total whimp who couldn't handle things like rats and so on. My Barbies were not like that at all. Sure, they would dress up in pretty clothes if they got married but most of our games were more of the active adventure type.

Open ended toys are great though but you will also notice that children create their own toys if you let them. My daughter uses hear beads to pose as food, toilet paper to make beds for toys, pillows to build things and yesterday my hair clip was a baby giraffe that was licking me... We have bought both types of toys but we have tried to not introduce too much licensed stuff before she asked for this. Spiderman is a huge favorite of hers and she has learned about movies like Frozen at day care but we still try to limit that. For Christmas I might buy her a book from Frozen as a middle ground as I feel that the book will be more inspiring. Even if we read the book our daughter also likes to read it on her own by looking at the pictures and describe what she sees and imagines and she calls it "reading". If you do get licensed toys inspire crossover and imaginative play with them. "Oh, Spiderman looks really tired, maybe you should put him to bed. Piglet looks lonely, perhaps they could co-sleep? Spiderman could bring the green blanket and they could share it in that bed." "Wow, that really looks like a wild and crazy Barbie! Oh, look, she is standing on her head! She is doing cartwheels! No, she fell on the hedgehog. Hedgehog, tell her you are sorry! That is nice, now they are going for a forest walk" Well, you get what I mean, right?
 
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