Friday, November 10, 2006

Blaming Blocks

My youngest broke my heart today. He told me "I don't like you." This happened a long time ago, using 'hate' and we nipped that one early. The past few days have been particularly challenging with His Royal stubbornness, of course it happens when I can't have that glass of wine at the end of the day, nor even a coffee (with Baileys) to end this nagging and painful "I need caffeine headache".

He said it cause he meant it. We had a long chat, then another even longer one, followed by an even longer time out.

Then I read this article in the paper this morning. We played with blocks and we still play with that glorious box of 52 coloured, lettered blocks DH bought at Winners one night about 3 years ago for $6.99.

I have to post entire article since the link is a secure one for subscribers only.

Kids' blocks lay foundation for learning
Toddlers who use them score higher on tests, U.S. study shows
SARAH SCHMIDT, CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, November 10, 2006

Forget all the media products for babies on the market and go for the classic building blocks, suggests a new study linking playing with blocks with improved language acquisition in toddlers.

The Child Health Institute at the University of Washington released results yesterday from a six-month clinical trial showing middle- and lower-income children 1.5 to 2.5 years of age who engage in block play scored significantly higher on an internationally recognized scale measuring toddlers' language development.

The team of researchers, led by pediatrician Dimitri Christakis, also found on any given day these children were more than 80 per cent less likely to watch television than children in the control group, who did not receive blocks.
Noting "an increasing number of media-based products are making unsubstantiated claims they can make children smarter, more literate, or more musical," the study takes direct aim such companies as Walt Disney's Baby Einstein Co., which markets a line of DVDs for newborns and toddlers.

"It's a critical period in a young child's development, and everybody is trying to optimize that development," Christakis said.

"Parents are inundated with messages that are totally unsubstantiated and totally ungrounded in cognitive theory. This study tried to demonstrate experimentally that there are particular toys that do help cognitive development. The burden should be on toy manufacturers to prove their claims."

The study included toddlers from 175 English-speaking homes. They were divided into two groups. The first group received two sets of building blocks, a pack of 80 blocks and a pack of specialty blocks that included people and cars. Their parents received suggestions of things to do with their child and blocks, such as sorting by colour and stacking them.

The parents completed diaries over the six-month period to keep track of the frequency with which their children played with the blocks, engaged in other types of play and watched television.

Montreal-based MEGA Brands provided the blocks and funded the study; the company was not involved in its design or analysis of the data.

So, we did a good thing, which ultimately broke my heart. Whatever. I will still play blocks, and we will still watch TV and I will still love him more than anything, forever.

P.S. The 2ww still sucks.


Blogger BeachMama said...

Blocks are awesome, I only wish they were still a hit here! I have heard that theory about playing with blocks before.

Does it count that my son can play a full game of hockey with the big kids and score? Or that he can throw a pretty good spiral and tackle you two seconds after you catch the ball?

Sorry bout the 2ww, I am feeling good for you. Just about the time you will be done waiting I will start.

8:47 AM EST  
Blogger twinmomplusone said...

waiting right along with you honey!

10:12 PM EST  
Blogger Silver Creek Mom said...

I don't like it when Nathan says Ihate you. And yes he goes right for a time out. BUT it hasn't stopped him even after the long talks we have had.

Nathan never liked blocks up until recently and now he builds and plays with them constantly. We ahave a bunch of mega blocks and different sorts of sets. He's slways building machines or stuff for his cars.

Yes I hated the 2ww...suck for sure. we're here for ya.

10:47 AM EST  

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