It is that time of the year again-- the time when everything goes on sale and temptation reigns supreme. You thought I was going to say something else, right?
Really, I could write this post any time of the year, because I have really grown tired of the way children are marketed to in this country. Adults too, for that matter, but I have grown more aware of it due to The Boy. And while it is rather key to this post, I am going to ignore the fact that Christmas decorations were out before Halloween had come and gone. Is that REALLY necessary? Argh. Back on topic.
This time of the year is especially hard when you have a young child who is growing more aware of commercialized products-- from toys to videos, The Boy knows more of the characters. I have limited his exposure at home, choosing Haba and Plan Toys (primarily), but it is not as easy to limit his exposure elsewhere.
When a non-profit organization came in to The Boy's school to test his development and hearing, they used Elmo and other Sesame Street characters. When out shopping, he sees other products that he is drawn to. At other people's homes, he is exposed to things I might not have at our house.
Commercialism is everywhere, but I can do things to limit The Boy's exposure. Below are a few of the things we do.
- Buy toys that encourage creativity and lack the commercial flair (i.e. two equal products, one has a character, one doesn't-- we go with the one without).
- Preview programs he will watch at home. We allow one show at this time-- Backyardigans-- in part due to their limited product line (and it's the show I can stand to watch too!).
- Other than sporting events, we don't watch live TV.
- Do not purchase character books (i.e. Sesame Street, Thomas the Train, Dora, etc). Those that are gifts, we do keep and read, but we don't buy those books.
- Encourage family members and friends to consider non-character gifts.
- Give others non-character/non-commercial gifts.
- Avoid purchasing clothing with commercialized themes (again, characters, etc).
For more information, visit a favorite site of mine-- Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.
A great shopping site for non-traditional (i.e. not found at Target or Toys-R-Us) toys-- Oompa Toys. I keep a running wish list for The Boy on their website to help make toy buying easy for my parents.
Do you limit the commercial items in your home? If so, what are some of the things you do and how do you do it?