Children have always had toys for their playtime. In the past most children made their own toys from local materials unlike the ones of nowadays who shop for them from supermarkets.
There is a lot to put in mind when buying the toys that a child demands for because that toy may either improve your child’s social skills or ruin them.
Sam Ejoku, an accountant, says his son loves any toy that moves but never keeps them for long due to his curiosity. He says he dismantles them just to know how the toy operates and what exactly enables them to operate the way they do.
“His toys do not last more than two days. He destroys them and later assembles the items to make something else like fans out of the mortar and plastic material which has made him innovative,” says Ejoku.
The calm one
He says at first he would get angry because he thought money was being wasted on a child who was destructive. However, after he realised the outcome, he now gets curious about what next his son is going to do hence buying him the toys he needs.
The violent boy
On the other hand he has another son who loves guns and all he thinks about is violence. This has cut across the games he plays, films he watches and it is somehow affecting his social life because should someone say anything about him, he clenches his fists and threatens to kick the person.
Ejoku says a toy can shape the child into the person he or she will be. Parents should therefore not take for granted because the outcome may be either good or bad.
Soft vs hard
Clare Namwiria, a mother of five, says her three girls love any toy that allows them to explore beauty tips. “They are into cosmetics. They will comb the dolls’ hair, put hair flowers and put their toys to sleep. The two other girls enjoy anything that involves lifting physical weights, climbing trees, among other perceivably masculine traits.”
Namwiria lets them be because you never know I may have beauticians and engineers.
Just like Ejoku, Ali male, a counselling psychologist at YWCA Uganda, says toys have taken another turn in children’s lives because even the way they are made is different from the past. This has impacted both positively and negatively on a child’s life.
He advises parents to ask their children why they need the kinds of toys that they ask for and it is from that they have to base on to decide whether the child can have the it or not.
He further says if the child really needs the toy, then the parent should educate the child about its use and also get to know how the child intends to use it and either recommend or disapprove.
“Parents should get to know that not all toys are good and not all are bad. The ones you chose to buy for your child that will determine what the child will learn out of the games that he or she plays using the toy,” he says.
“As parents, we should not just look at toys as play items for our children but also as study instruments because there is a lot to be learnt through toys,” says Edith Muhura, a mother of four.
Muhura further explains that parents should consider the effect it has on the children because of how her four daughters have learnt from the toys that they play with.
“When I’m to buy toys for them, I get something practical such as kitchen utensils, dolls that they use to imitate whatever I do at home and with that they have learnt how to do dishes, bathe, wash clothes and also cook light meals,” she says.
But the most important thing parents should bear in mind is just like TV, toys also tend to make the child anti-social because all they will see are the toys they have and not other things and people around them.
Rose Margaret katengeke, a child psychologist at The African Pearl School, Kabalagala, says there are many activities that children can carry out with the toys they have. sometimes the parents too have to get involved if the children are to use the toys in an appropriate way.
“There are some toys that are not fit to be bought for the children. Parents should look at the composure of the toy most especially the dolls. some of them don’t have a good composure then there are some toys for boys that just instigate violence in children,” says Ali Male, a counselling psychologist.
She says the parents can know if their children are responsible starting with the toys they have. For instance there is a tendency for children too leave them lying on the floor. You can tell them to always keep them away after playing, you can even get them those that need proper care and maintenance and then see to it that they are left in good shape.