So, a good friend is expecting. She and her husband are a *bit* nerdy, but not to the extent that I am. (They like things from their childhood like TMNT and Transformers, but that’s about it.) How can I be a cool auntie to their child but not drive mom and dad crazy? What are some good things to introduce small children to that promote good values? Thank you!
Trying to be the best Auntie in the world!
Dear Best Auntie in the World,
Congratulations on becoming an Auntie! Children can be wonderful reminders to us about how we want to live our lives and about what we want to teach to a new generation. It’s great that you’re thinking about promoting good values to the baby while also introducing her/him to nerdy things. I’m glad you’re also taking the parents’ tastes into consideration as you determine what to expose to the child. It is very important to consider the parents’ values and tastes when thinking about what to give their children. Something that seems perfectly normal and benign to you may not be to the parents. You may want to ask your friends what genres/characters they would be willing to introduce to their child.
In terms of shows or genres that promote good values, many of the shows/books made specifically for very small children tend to promote the values of sharing, including others, being kind, cleaning up after oneself, saying you’re sorry, trying again after you fail, etc. Sesame Street is still going strong after all these years and still teaches great lessons to young children. A new favorite of many parents is Yo Gaba Gaba, and my brother’s young children love Phineas and Ferb. If you want to introduce your favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy characters to the child, that’s great too. A wonderful value that many sci-fi shows teach is that of diversity and inclusion. Star Trek and Star Wars (as well as other sci-fi universes) show characters of different races and species working together as a team and treating each other as equals. Treating all people with respect, despite our differences, is certainly a good value to teach children.
Whatever you decide to give or introduce to the baby, make sure that it is age-appropriate and won’t harm him/her. One thing to keep in mind is that very small children prefer toys that are soft to the touch, are brightly colored with simple patterns, and that don’t have small parts that they could put in their mouths. Babies also tend to prefer looking at faces than at objects without faces. Stuffed animals or plushie toys come to mind as good baby gifts. I’m always partial to Star Wars, and there are many fun plush toys available, like a plushie Chewbacca, Princess Leia, or R2D2. There are definitely Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers plush toys out there too, and gifts like those might please the parents as well as the baby.
Since we’re heading into gift giving season, this is likely a question that many fangirl/fanboy parents, aunties, and uncles out there are considering. I’d like to ask the Her Universe community to respond with their own ideas of what to give or introduce to young children.
At any rate, I hope you’re enjoying being an Auntie, and I wish all of you out there in the Her Universe community a very happy holiday!
All the best,
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