I opened up my sons backpack this morning to a book he made about emotions. He’s four and this is a common theme to be taught and as a past preschool teacher, a necessary one.  I was anxious to read his book and thought he tell me it made him happy to be with mom or dad. Maybe his puppy makes him happy. Nope, his new obsession…Bionicles, they make him happy (go figure). They also make him sad because he doesn’t get them everyday. I read this little handmade book probably twenty times completely sad that my sons emotions were tied to material possessions and getting more of them. What am I doing wrong?

Commercialism and our children, it’s probably part of my problem. Too much television perhaps? I’m not a huge advocate of no television and I don’t freak out about my children watching it because I’m in the room with them and it’s usually PBS or Max and Ruby. I do know the television is on too much, background noise. Obviously, the commercials are impacting my children and probably yours too! I’ll save you the research, data and statistics supporting this because we know deep down in our hearts as parents this is true. Do we really need research to tell us otherwise?

I also know this, children do not need too many toys. Mine might have too many but I would not say we buy too many. We mostly have toys from older cousins that are being passed down to us.  Regardless, I’m guilty like any other mom of buying toys when I shouldn’t and giving into the requests and fits, now and again. I’ve started to really think about this and realize that yes, my kids will have some plastic toys that come in too much plastic packaging. I can’t help what others will buy for them and what they might like or dislike. I can, however, begin to make different choices and look for quality toys.

Toys that might cost a little more but are natural, wood, organic and will last from one generation to the next. Toys that aren’t covered in plastic and require a degree to open and unravel!  I also believe, children need to use their imagination and allow for different items to be used different ways. A block can become a hamburger, a toy trucks log to haul, a ramp, part of a building, etc.  Toys should cultivate and help stimulate the imagination. As a parent, I have to do a better job and making choices about which toys I purchase and cutting back on the television. My son asked my husband what he used to play with when he was little the response was, “Marbles. Do you know what those are?” Guess the answer to that question!

Watch this video I made, in my pajamas! I’m showing you my true colors people! Anyhow, I read you my sons book and give you more of my thoughts. Share with me what you think and if you have any of these same problems. I’m taking this very seriously and in the next few weeks you’ll see some great toy reviews from a company I’m completely in love with, Natural Pod. See the very timely review written by Jennifer Lance over at Eco Child’s Play, she’s loving this company too! Great minds think alike! You’ll also get some great recommendations in my holiday guide being published next week.

Why not? Great tips for free!

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