NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – With the holiday season here, you might be tempted to buy the young children in your life a cool new cell phone or tablet based game.
Not so fast, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends that parents should get back to the basics when it comes to what toys kids play with.
From making pizza to doing puzzles, Brande Winget wants her family to spend more time playing and less time behind screens.
“I’d say, we are aware of it, having a ten, an eight, and a three-year-old. So we already are trying to focus on non-digital toys,” she said.
A new American Academy of Pediatrics report is giving guidance to pediatricians and parents on what toys are best for children, recommending going back to the basics to encourage playing, interacting and pretending.
“This helps you with emotional regulation, it helps you with conflict resolution, this helps you with your imagination,” said Dr. Cori Cross. “Then you want to think about fine motor skills, things that you do with your hands, like blocks and LEGOs. And your gross motor, which is playing outside with balls or going on a tricycle.”
The report says electronic toys alone are not geared toward the interaction necessary for healthy development. Cross reminds parents to keep the fun going with older kids.
“If you’re having a family game night, a lot of time kids do want to spend time with their parents. You can bring a puzzle on vacation and everybody can do it. They end up interacting with you and really enjoying it. And that you can look back on, and you’re also building the foundation for a good relationship,” said Cross.
Winget said it can be challenging to limit devices.
“But, I think you have to be aware that you need to set it down and have some time to really engage,” she said.
The report also highlights that parents should choose toys that are not overstimulating for children and cautions that many new interactive media programs claim to have educational benefits that have not been proven.