Kids Health

Doctors Want Parents to Give Toddlers Simple Toys — Not Tech — This Year

Holiday shopping is hard, and that is particularly true when you have children. I mean, with so many options, how does one choose? But if you are the parent of a young child, you may want to rethink your list because, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the best toys are traditional and (wait for it) not technology-based.

“Toys have evolved over the years, and advertisements may leave parents with the impression that toys with a ‘virtual’ or digital-based platform are more educational,” Dr. Aleeya Healey, lead author of the report, said in a statement. However, “research tells us that the best toys need not be flashy or expensive or come with an app. Simple, in this case, really is better.”

So what toys does the AAP recommend? Books, blocks, dolls, cars, bikes, trikes, puzzles and anything that expands their imagination and/or develops their social, language or problem-solving skills.

Of course, some would argue high-tech toys offer these benefits, specifically those programs and apps that are deemed educational. However, according to Dr. Alan Mendelsohn — coauthor of the report and associate professor in the departments of pediatrics and population health at NYU Langone — “[T]he best toys are those that support parents and children playing, pretending and interacting together,” as these objects promote communication and help young children develop meaningful relationships.

“When children play with parents,” Mendelsohn said, “the real magic happens… you just don’t reap the same rewards from a tablet or screen.”

And while we here at SheKnows love our technology, we couldn’t agree more. Shutting down and stepping away could benefit us all.

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