Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst New York and has worked inthe ophthalmology field of medicine for over 30 years.
Recently I was invited to a baby shower; many of my friends’ children are now having babies which is so
wonderful to celebrate. I decided to take a visit to the baby supplies store and check the registry of items she had listed for purchase.
Now it’s been a very long time since I had entered a baby store; 30 years to be exact. Was I in for an eye opener. Back in the day… there were certain items that were necessities including a crib, layette table, walker, high chair and a stroller. These were the basics in addition to all the soft goods such as towels,
diapers etc. It was a sizable investment in the 1980’s; I spent much of my day, changing, feeding, rocking and reading to our sons. We had many outings to the park and many neighborhood walks.
It seems that things have really changed as far as the necessities required to raise a baby. I was speechless as I toured the baby store. There were cradles to place the baby in that were motorized and were programmed to move in various patterns of direction and motion.
What happened to manually rocking the baby? These hi tech devices were several hundred dollars; the walkers that we had used that cost about $20.00 back then were now very sophisticated in shapes of trucks and cars and were much more intricate than ever before and so was the price.
There were devices that made noises to place in the crib to help the baby sleep such as the sound of waves or wind or heart beats; what happened to turning on the mobile atop the crib and singing the baby to sleep? Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of new ingenious inventions that make a lot of sense today such as a cover to put in the shopping cart where the child can sit to keep them from many germs. Teaching toys that talk along with a book that is
being read and many other educational inventions.
Many of the equipment for parents to use do make life easier I am sure, but are they taking the place of a Childs’ own creativity ; are these devices making it easier to raise a child into an adult but leaving out the important things that a baby needs for growth and development? If a baby only can fall asleep with certain noises in the crib, how will they sleep later on in life.
Many times we eat breakfast or dinner out during the week and see families with their children. It seems that the majority of the meal is eaten in near silence, mom and dad reading their I phone or reading the paper and the children playing on their own I pad or electronic device.
What happened to eating as a family, sharing ideas and conversing with each other? Are we raising a group of young people that are unable to express their ideas person to person and only able to text to each other.
I think in the long run we will be finding that some of this technology will be causing social problems down the line . Yes we will have very knowledgeable children that can surf the world wide web but what kind of social beings will they turn out to be? It does give us food for thought; for me, if I am ever lucky enough to have an extended family…its books and hands on entertainment for us. The children will have to suffer through walks in the park, field trips to museums , visits to the zoo and talking about their days to name a few things. It will be the sacrifice they will have to make. ;)
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