Well, my instant answer to that, is NO. Why would a 3 year old need a DS, PSP, XBox, Wii or any other type of computer game console .....but maybe that is just because I am not that interested in computer games? Or maybe it is just because I am lucky enough to have twins and therefore my 3 year old always has another 3 year to play with and thus they can do exactly what I think 3 year olds should be doing - imaginative play. The girls like to play doctors, hairdressers, Mummies, cafe's, shops, post offices etc etc. Most days I am bought an imaginary cup of tea and a cake or I have my hair put up in a very 'classic' design and I do not mind this one bit. If not imaginative play then we go out to the park, make puzzles, play board games, do cutting and sticking, get the play doh out - anything that has their hands and minds working together.
I always worried I would be a pushy mother but I have learnt that actually I am not. I never sit and do letter formations with the girls, we do not spell words out, my two can not write their names - so what, they are 38 months! We count as part of our play, we bounce on the trampoline and we bake cakes - all far more healthy I feel.
Yes sometimes the TV is on and the kids zone out for a while and relax while I make the dinner or sort the washing (or even pop on to view a blog or two!).
Now I do not write this post to judge you if your 3 year old has a DS or similar, it just seems completely alien to me. Why do they have one? Enlighten me.
My two have never been on a PC/ laptop. Do they need to? Will they be slower at school because they have not? I seriously doubt it.
I have this fear that if I give everything to my kids at an early age what is there for them to look forwards to or work towards as they get older? How will they learn the real value of money if they are bought £100 presents at age 3 and then want a new game every couple of months at £20 - £40 a pop. I love it that you can give JJ 3 boxes, a couple of postcards, bottle tops and some sticky tape and he can make a toy he will play with for days.
JJ has a DS, he got his when he was 6. Old enough to understand that money does not grow on trees and that he had to save his pocket money, birthday money or such when he wants a new game. He has a strict time limit on how long he can play for and we vet the games he is allowed. Call us controlling and I will answer 'yes and rightly so!'. This is our babe who we want to teach strong values to.
Here is my Mummy Manifesto -
- My children will not be encouraged to grow up too quickly.
- My children will wear modest, age appropriate children's clothes.
- My children will read fairy tales and stories about 'nice' things.
- My children can watch kiddie programmes on TV and should not to be exposed to phrases such as 'Loser' on Spongebob or 'Whatever' on Phineas and Ferb.
- However, my children will also have TV free playtime every day.
- I think it is important that children play outside every day and are allowed to get messy and to make a mess.
- My children will be encouraged to cook with me and to enjoy and have fun with all types of food.
- I think that variety is the spice of life and it is good for my kids to try all sorts of things.
- I believe that children should sometimes play alone, sometimes play with friends and sometimes play with their parents. They will gain something different from each of these interactions.
- My children will be involved in age appropriate household chores. They will pick up after themselves and learn to help me/dh too.
- My children will learn to make their own choices about money and how it is to be spent or saved.
- I will do everything I can to ensure that my children grow up knowing just how lucky they are and that many in the world have nothing in comparison to them.