Let’s just say, if you want to see a one year old, or a parent of a one year old. Try visiting before dinner time and definitely not unannounced after 7pm. By that point at night my one year old is attatched to me. Fast asleep but still feeding. His slow sleep feeding lasts about an hour, by which point, I’m knackered and neither of us fancy small talk.
We’ve been struggling with what to do for our son’s first birthday. The first year is a busy one. In that year a child’s brain grows and develops faster than any time in its life.
By age one a child can pick out it’s native language from foreign tongue, and their language comprehension is expanding daily.
As awesome as a one year old is, as much as they have learnt, they still are trying to break down and understand the complex world we live in.
They look to their surroundings to provide them with stimulus. They are unable to imagine yet (this skill expands this year) or play in the same way their toddler counterparts are.
Presenting a one year old with humanised cars, animals , objects actually presents them a confusing stimulus. Is this talking bear human? Does it fit in with my known rules about humans- no. What about my known rules about animals- no again.
Whilst this isn’t harmful, it diverts valuable ‘experimenting’ time from real objects. Which seems like a waste of a crucial developmental point in a young child’s life.
Whilst not harmful. These toys can hinder development in young children. Elinor Goldshmeid, the child activist who coined the term heuristic play, stated that her work with children showed that active toys (the sort that perform at the press of a button) created passive children.
In other words, providing electronic toys for a one year old, produces an expectation in the child to be entertained. They don’t face to work to play with the toy. Which leads to an older child who struggles to play independently and think creatively.
Can I share a secret? We’ve been pushing kids into learning earlier and earlier. Yet our adult literacy and numeracy rates are dropping like a deflated balloon.
The learniing that takes place in most of these puzzles, books, she’s and flash cards is not organic. A child can retain the knowledge that the image shown is a three or a letter d, but that is not the same as knowing WHY they are. It’s kind of like cramming from a buddies notes in an exam.
All learning is based on connections. Provide your child with lots of cool experiences, go for walks, gather flowers, read beautiful books. Then they will have a library of resources to make those connections with. When they are ready.
I’m weary of giving children too many gifts without purpose. It can set up a belief system, which attributes personal value/happiness with material belongings. Increasing likelihood of adult depression and teenage angst.
The solution to the dilemma of what to give a one year old?
For Edwins Birthday we’ve adopted the WNWR gift policy. That’s four gifts from us.
Want- a heuristic basket from mamas wholesale storage. Everyone I open the storage cupboard he’s in tying to help himself. So we put this as his Want
Need- a trike with an adult handle to use instead of a sling when on nature walks.
Wear- Autumn outdoor wear- handmade hoody and fleece trousers .
Read- a gorgeous farm book created by Steiner book company Floris.