What... (i.e. camp, dance class, birthday party)
        
 
Pick a NYMetroParents Region: All Regions   Manhattan    Brooklyn    Queens    Westchester    Rockland   Fairfield    Nassau    Suffolk  

Resources

   

CAN LEARNING MAKE YOU STUPID?

     Home  >  Articles  > Child Raising
by Judy Antell

Related:


Parents who grew up with a TV in every room, Lite Brite and other battery operated toys, and a Barbie Princess phone (or GI Joe equivalent) tend to romanticize their idyllic ‘cardboard box served as my plaything’ childhood and throw up their hands at the request for yet another electronic toy.  But get real.  If you were born past 1950, you had electronics in your home and in your toy box.

   I figure that if kids have a healthy balance of electronic and non-electronic fun, they are fine.  Though my youngest had her Nintendo DS with her on a recent ski trip, it never even made it out of the car.  She and her sisters played no-tech games with their cousin — cards and hide and seek.  They baked cookies and brownies.  I don’t worry that they are tethered to electronic devices (though we draw the line at teenage texting during meals).

   Many parents overindulge in electronic distractions for kids when traveling — packing hand-held games, portable DVD players and music, but we have always used travel as an opportunity to catch up on books.  Even before my kids could read, we would go to the library and get a stack of books for every trip; a surprise would be a new one from the bookstore.  Just don’t try this if your child is prone to carsickness (though we’ve found, through experience, that if you can’t read in the car, you can’t watch a tiny screen either).  Luckily for us, everyone can read on trains and airplanes.

   I understand the impetus to get kids started on early learning products.  If your son is reading at 3, he is viewed with awe, and at schools, many precocious learners are treated as smarter. A self-fulfilling prophecy?  Just as early walking doesn’t mean your daughter will be an Olympic gymnast, early reading doesn’t ensure a Nobel prize.  But many parents get caught up in early competition.

   And just because a toddler can recite the alphabet or spell her name doesn’t mean she understands what letters are.  When my oldest daughter, Hallie, was in third grade, she had to memorize the multiplication charts; she was constantly mumbling them to herself.  Once, when she was stuck, Sela, who was in first grade, wearily reeled off the entire table.  Sela had no idea what multiplication was; she had just heard the numbers so many times that she’d absorbed them. But it didn’t help her learn how to multiply any faster.

   There’s no denying that electronic toys can be fun.   And I like my toys, too. I got a portable GPS (since we don’t own a car), and it’s great when we rent a car and drive out of town — we can find out quickly where the nearest Starbucks or (maybe) Indonesian restaurant is, and, since we have no glove compartment to store maps, we can use it to figure out alternative routes.  But in some ways, relying on a GPS makes us stupid … if we don’t practice reading maps, we lose that ability.  Be careful not to confuse electronic learning with the real stuff.


Get Your FREE Indoor Activity eGuide!

More Child Raising Articles

Granny-Guru's Parenting Advice: Break Some Rules
Board Games: Should You Let Your Kids Win?
How to Stay Motivated This Spring
How to Avoid Being an Overprotective Parent: Advice from the Experts on Long Island
How to Avoid Being an Overprotective Parent: Advice from the Experts in Fairfield County, CT

Be a good fellow parent and share this with a friend who would be interested
Email Friend

Local Child Raising Sponsors

Yale Fertility Center
125A Kings Highway N.
Westport, CT
203-341-8899
...

Kiddie City
262 Glen Head Road
Glen Head, NY
516-399-2525
Looking for party ideas for kids ages 1-12 years o...

ER-DOX/ Pedia-Nyte
365 Broadway
Amityville, New York
631-841-4102
ER-DOX offers a choice for those patients who are ...

Superstar Family Fun Center
736 61st St, 2nd Fl.
Brooklyn, NY
718-492-2928.
...

Little Chefs Ltd.
33 Jackson Avenue
Syosset, NY
516-496-0754
...
See Our Child Raising Directory

local zones

Nassau

Nassau cont.

Suffolk

Suffolk cont.

Westchester

Westchester cont.

Fairfield

Rockland

Rockland cont.

Queens

Queens cont.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn cont.

Manhattan

Copyright 2014 NY Metro Parents Magazine Site Design: THE VOICE