Giving your baby the best toys is one of the ways you may express your love for your kids. But did you know that electronic toys adorned with lights, or those that play music or talk might delay your toddler’s ability to speak?
At first look, these toys might seem interactive, hence great for your child’s developing mind. However, a Northern Arizona University research team said that their study showed that these toys have the exact opposite effect. They learned that the more the toys sing and talk, the more your babies are prevented from talking.
The study was published in the online version of JAMA Pediatrics on December 23, 2015, said that the study is a good start to the tradition of not buying chatty and flashy toys for kids, aside from the fact that they are more on the pricey side.
The research focused on 26 pairs of parents and babies aged 10 to 16 months old. The participants were monitored during playtime in their own homes with audio equipment.
The researchers gave three sets of toys to individual families. The first set consisted of a baby cell phone, a talking farm, and a baby laptop – all electronic toys. The second included a shape-sorter, wooden puzzles, and rubber blocks with images on them – all traditional toys. The third consisted of five board-books with shape, animal or color themes.
The study showed that the electronic toy set slowed down the baby’s quality and quantity of language development more than the books and traditional toys did.
During the playtime, parents talk less while the kids are busy with their electronic playthings. The latter tend to be less vocal and did not make that much content-specific words as they focused on the electronic toys, according to the researchers led by Anna Sosa.
On the other hand, the kids and their parents tend to talk more as the kids played with books.
The researchers wrote that this kind of response should encourage parents to spend more time reading with their young kids.
The study, though, as the researchers indicated, were more or less focused on families with the same background. However, they suggested that even busy parents should make time to bond with their tots.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis of Seattle Children’s Hospital and Dr. Jenny Radesky of the University of Michigan Medical School wrote an editorial, saying that flashy and noisy toys effectively capture the children’s attention by activating their auditory and visual stimuli. They also stressed on the importance of conversing with your kids during playtime, saying that this is the perfect time for young kids to learn basic literacy skills, give parents a chance to monitor the development of their child, and for kids to learn about role-playing and social skills, such as following other people’s leads or waiting for their turn.
So if you want to engage your toddlers more, avoid those electronic toys for now. Instead, do your best to converse with your tots, even at their young age.