Books and stories are such an important part of a baby and toddler’s development. Reading and hearing stories are how your child will develop her creativity, question the world and build knowledge.
For me, I wanted to give my son the largest horizon for his imagination, and following several studies regarding cognitive development in infants and toddlers, I decided that my son would not be watching any television until he was 3 years old.
It was not easy, and my husband was not a big fan about it in the beginning (especially since we got rid of our TVs at home). I did not get much support about what people thought was rather ‘extreme’ in my son’s upbringing, and felt quite a lot of pressure – especially from relatives – to expose him to TV. What if my son’s development was actually being delayed because he did not know the latest cartoons? Would he not feel ‘left out’ if his friends all knew who Dora, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were and he did not? How was I going to entertain him if I did not have a TV?
For me, it was about building his ability to focus.
I wanted to foster his capacity to take time to digest a story, a situation or an emotion. I wanted him to pace his own tempo in order to understand stories, concepts and characters and not have it bombarded at him. I wanted him to think about different options for story lines as he flipped through pages and asked me questions about what happens next. And in all honesty, I did not care if he did not know who Dora was even though his friends may have – I figured it would take him one day at 3 years old, when I felt he could begin to watch, to figure out who all of those folks. Moreover, I did not see the rush. I knew that he would surely have enough time for the rest of his life to become acquainted with everyone in the TV universe, the internet and all else.
Living through the multitude of critique from peers and relatives, and very little encouragement, I was actually amazed at just how much our societies value TV and how much it was part of our social bonding, education and communication. In the U.S., there is usually a big TV planted in the middle of a living room. How can you not turn it on? What else would you do in the living room? Have a conversation?
Except for times my son had play-dates or visits, or when we traveled and stayed in hotels, my son was not exposed to TV until he started preschool at 3 years old.
That meant we read a lot of books together, invented stories, drew up story boards, cut out figures to elaborate scenarios, used puppets, origami, made cities out of play-dough and cardboard boxes, you name it, we did it.
I love finding out about great new books, books from different cultures and books that inspired me and my son.
My dear friend Kira orders me and Magnus some of her favorite books for her son since she knows that in the past months, I have had little time to browse and find new books.
I will be posting different books and stories here, and I hope I will be hearing from you about your favorite books for your kids.