Saturday, October 22, 2005

And Now Tantrum Tamer Trolleys

In the comments section under my shopping trolley post, Heather linked me to an article on Tesco’s plans for a Tantrum Tamer shopping trolley.

'The Wanzl "Tantrum Tamer" will be kitted out with a screen through which harrassed parents can feed their offspring a range of educational DVDs and CDs. Tesco says that almost half of 3,000 parents quizzed confirmed that their little ones had suffered "boredom tantrums" as a result of being forced to trundle up and down between the aisles.'

This looks to me like the worst of bad ideas. When I was a child, I’d go to my parents and tell them I was bored and they’d tell me to go and find something to do and stop complaining. That was a good thing. It’s right that children should be allowed to get bored. That way, they can exercise their imaginations and find some way of applying their minds.

True there may be the odd tantrum along the way, and I know how awful it can be going through a store with screaming child. But the answer is not to stick a child in front of a screen to avoid boredom. Interaction with a child, getting him or her interested in what you are doing, has got to be a better way, both for the child and for the parent.

And if the child complains of being bored, well that’s part of life. Shopping is boring and so are lots of other things. Children have to get used to that and learn to devise ways to make life more interesting for themselves rather than being handed entertainment on a plate all the time.

TV and computer games have their place. They have educational value and are fun. My daughter already loves them. But she needs time to get bored too.

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