Monday, September 12, 2011

Stop Micro-Managing Your Toddler's Playtime

So all that about your child's early development may be rubbish after all? Who could have imagined? Actually, I did, and you probably did as well.

Imagine, you plop the baby in a bouncy seat before the telly, have her watch Baby Einstein videos, and in a couple of months, presto! Your baby can read, do linear algebra, and play harpsichord. Bitchin'.

I can assure you, my mother never got down on the floor to play with me. True, she might well have been unable to get up once more if she'd tried, but the point is, she never would have tried. Parents didn't do that sort of thing in the 60's. In the 60's, parents sent you to the finished basement to play, listen to your Osmonds records, and read comic books. If the weather wasn't too inclement, they kicked you out of the house until dinnertime. I can remember being three or four and hiding behind the tree on the parkway squirting pensioners with my water gun on their way to the bus stop. Obviously, no one was watching me too closely, or supervising my squirt-gun skills so I'd have a better chance of being accepted to university. In the 60's you could let a toddler play in front of the house without fear of being charged with child neglect.

Looking at the PSA's they run on television in the US, one gets the impression if they don't spend every waking (and semi-sleeping) moment blathering on and on and endlessly on to your young child about god only knows what, why they'll be ruined. That's right, they'll never learn to walk, talk, do multiplication, or make fart jokes. And it is all your fault, as you could have been down on the floor playing with Matchbox cars and reading Cicero's Philippic Orations. Now your three year old is going to be plagued with poor self esteem, won't be able to tie their shoelaces, all because you had other stuff to do. You know what I say? I say the self-esteem crap is overrated. If everyone gets a great sense of self-esteem, who will work as exotic dancers? Huh? Did you think about that, brain scientists?

Look, I'm not saying you can lock them in a closet and forget about them until they turn eighteen, but you don't need to go up the park every day to work on their slide navigating abilities. And those instructional videos, I mean, you didn't really buy those, did you?

Relax. You can skip the three hour reading session today, and just let them look at some comic books before dinner. Save your energy for the teen years. They're probably not going to end up sociopaths. Probably.

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