However, as much as the little one on your list may or may not have their own ideas about what toys they would like to unwrap, we all know that there is a big difference out there in terms of quality, educational value, promotion of important learning skills, and more. After all, kids are constantly growing, discovering, and developing, so it's important to understand which toys and games will help them learn every step of the way!
That's why the perfect place to look for all of the answers is none other than to the Expert Panel and Milestones resources from VTech!
You already know VTech as the world leader in age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children. With such a variety of educational learning toys available, it is no wonder that parents and grandparents turn to VTech time and again for only the very best.
Essentially, VTech works closely with a panel of six children's learning experts on the development of its products. Insight from these experts are featured in an online developmental Milestones resource that offers parents guidelines and recommendations to help them select toys based on the individual needs of children from birth to nine years old.
The categories explain different characteristics and occurrences that your child is faced with at each specific age and developmental stage, and are then followed by recommended products that the most appropriate and beneficial. The milestones are broken down by age and three categories of development:
- Language and Cognitive
- Social and Emotional
- Physical and Motor
These experts really know their stuff! Check out the wonderful answers that Expert Panel member and Child Psychology Expert, Dr. Susan Bartell, gave to the following Milestone questions:
How can I encourage my child to try new things and not say she can’t before she even makes an attempt?
Children sometimes need to try something several times before they like it—especially food—so getting them over that initial hump of trying is very important. It is important for you to remain calm, and not angry or frustrated when you are getting your child to try something new and not expect her to try new things under pressure—pressing her to try a new yogurt when you’re rushing her to school and you to work is not a good time!
Usually it is fear of the unknown that causes resistance. Therefore, the best way to encourage trying is to demystify the experience, offer support and an ‘out’ if necessary. For example, if you want her to try playing soccer: point out all her friends that play, tell her you will stay for the whole practice and let her know that after she tries it 3 times she can stop if she still doesn’t like it.
What is a good age to start giving my child more responsibility? For example, doing chores independently on a regular schedule.
Children can begin to benefit from chores starting as young as four or five years old as long as they are age appropriate—for example, taking unbreakable items off the dinner table or putting toys away neatly. The key to ‘chore success’ is to make sure that you don’t give too many chores, and that they can be accomplished within your child’s schedule every single time.
For example, taking out the garbage on garbage day is only good for an older child that can lift the garbage, and if she has time in the morning on every single garbage day. If not, then this isn’t a good chore.
I suggest no more than two regular chores for a child, if you want to ensure success. In addition, it is important for you to follow up consistently to make sure that your child is completing chores. VERY few kids will continue to do their chores if a parent isn’t vigilant about ensuring follow-through. You should not expect your child to do it without some reminder or prompting—and you will feel less frustrated if you don’t expect this!
My child likes to play by herself, what is a good way to encourage her to play with other kids her age?
There is nothing wrong with a child sometimes wanting to play alone, but it is a good idea to also encourage socializing. For kids that prefer to play alone, a one-on-one playdate is much more likely to be successful than a larger group. In addition, schedule playtimes that aren’t more than an hour or two, to begin, so your child doesn’t feel pressure to be successful for longer than she wants.
Finally, have some structured activity (art project, new toy—like Flipsies!) so that your child doesn’t feel that she has to entertain her playmate. If your child seems very resistant, or if a teacher tells you that she doesn’t know how to play with others, it is a good idea to speak to a psychologist or other professional to explore whether she would benefit from an evaluation or to learn some skills.
Great answers, right? Plus, we couldn't agree more with Dr. Bartell on her recommendation of the new VTech Flipsies and their fun and educational benefits for kids!
Each Flipsie has her own unique dream and personality that come to life through her playsets. These interchangeable toys empower girls to dream big and use their imaginations by magically transforming from their everyday life to their dream life. So not only do they have a great message, but they are a 2-in-1 toy that provides even more play for kids!
My girls had the opportunity to try out a selection of Flipsies earlier in the year and loved them, so I knew that the arrival of the VTech Flipsies Sandy's House & Ocean Cruiser playset and the Flipsies Eva & her Bunny would be met with extreme enthusiasm.
Designed for ages 4-9, these Flipsies have definitely been welcomed into our home!
Flipsies Sandy's House and Ocean Cruiser transforms from a beautiful beach house where she can spend time with her friends to an ocean cruiser that she can use to explore ocean life. Simply place Sandy on the eight MagicPoint locations on the dollhouse playset — or other MagicPoint locations on Flipsies playsets (each sold separately) — and she'll respond with playful phrases unique to her own personality.
While Sandy magically gets to live out her dream of becoming a marine biologist, we love that all of the Flipsies wigs and accessories can be shared with all Flipsies dolls. My girls have a great time swapping items while pressing the charms on the dolls' necklaces to see them light up and to hear their cute sayings!
This holiday season and beyond, be sure to visit the VTech Expert Panel and Milestones page for great information on how VTech products are developed, the insight that these experts have, and their recommendations for selecting just the right toys for the children in your life.
You can also find out more about the cool new VTech Flipsies on their own website as well as connecting with all things VTech at VTechKids.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
And, thanks to the generosity of VTech, one person will have the opportunity to see why the experts suggest bringing home the unique fun and learning of Flipsies, because...
One lucky person will receive a VTech Flipsies Sandy's House & Ocean Cruiser playset AND a Flipsies Eva & her Bunny (total ARV $49.98)!
The VTech product, information, and giveaway have been provided by VTech.