It’s the time of year for amazing, heartwarming holiday specials, accompanied by tons of commercials aimed at children. If your family embraces the commercials along with everything else holiday-themed, here are some things to think about and discuss with your kids, with help from the wise minds at Common Sense Media:
- Once kids get to 8 years or so, they can distinguish that an ad has the specific aim to convince someone to buy an item. That means that you can talk to kids about how the ads may use language and images to make the product seem more magical than it may be in real life.
- If your children are not yet ready for that conversation, ask them about why they like something they have just seen. Sometimes it’s similar to something that they already have and love, and they just need a reminder. If the toy is a great addition to a collection, or If it’s truly new to them, put it on your list for consideration.
- Lastly, advertisers put a ton of emotion and excitement in ads for kids. The desired intent is to have children feed off of that energy and say, “I WANT THAT!” You know your kids. So, try to look through the hype and ask yourself, “Will this toy really work for my kid? How long will the interest (or the toy itself) last?”
For non-commercial holiday programs, check out the lineup at austinpbs.org/holidays. For holiday family activities and crafts, go to pbsparents.org.
Benjamin Kramer, Ph.D., is the director of education for Austin PBS.