Holiday Gift Guide: Kelsey-Seybold Pediatricians Share Top Picks for Kids Under 10
List reflects gifting traditions of yesteryear: experiences, analog toys/games, books rank highest
Houston (November 13, 2018) – Holiday gift-giving season is here, and for many parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, it can be challenging to find gifts for the children in their lives. Too often, gift givers find themselves wading through a sea of toys at their local big box or online stores. For children under the age of 10, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic pediatricians believe in gifts that inspire young imaginations, while reducing some of the digital impact kids face daily.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that while there is a place and time for children to consume digital media or screen time, problems may arise “when media use displaces physical activity, hands-on exploration, and face-to-face social interaction in the real world.”  Many children today are exposed to media in a quantity and quality that far exceeds the recommendations of the AAP, which is why parents and extended families may benefit from a gift guide that focuses on items that encourage togetherness, fun, creativity, and movement.
“Children usually learn best when they interact with people and their toys. Especially during the early years, it is important to help kids develop their critical thinking skills and nurture their imagination by limiting electronic gadgets that talk and display graphics,” said Phong Van-Liaw, M.D., F.A.A.P., pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center. “Some of my personal favorite toys that I recommend wooden train and track sets, play tents in the shape of castles or vehicles, and any building block set. The key here is to play with your child, build lasting bonds, and encourage creative independent play.”
 American Academy of Pediatrics, “American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use,” www.aap.org (10/21/2016)
Kelsey-Seybold Pedi Gift Giving Guide:
- Experiences: “A meaningful gift does not have to come in a package,” said Jessica Lanerie, M.D., pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Sienna. “Children will always cherish time spent with their loved ones. Give the gift of a trip to the zoo or a favorite museum. Treat them to a trip to their favorite restaurant. Pick a date to do some of their favorite things, which can be as simple as a trip to the park or watching a favorite movie. Instead of giving a material gift that may be forgotten by next year, have some fun and make memories together.”
- Toys that encourage movement: "I recommend gifts that help children to be physically active,” said Pamela Sanders, M.D., F.A.A.P., pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center. “Examples include a tricycle or bicycle, jump rope, or flying disc. When parents participate with their children, everyone gets some exercise and has fun! For little ones, simple stocking stuffers like bubbles and sidewalk chalk are activities they love and gets them outside and moving! Don’t forget to make sure your child has the appropriate protective gear – especially when riding wheeled toys."
- Books: “Books are the best gift!” said Suzanne Condron, M.D., F.A.A.P., pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center. “Nothing captures the imagination, builds vocabulary, or fosters empathy like a good book. Whether you give a colorful, rhyming board book by Sandra Boynton* to an infant, a silly Dr. Seuss book* to a toddler, a boxed set of books like the Magic Treehouse stories* for early readers, or any of Shel Silverstein’s books* to a school-aged child, you can be sure your gift will provide lasting enjoyment.”
- Magazine subscriptions: “Give a gift that keeps giving while encouraging your child to explore the world around them,” said Helene Sheena, M.D., F.A.A.P., pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Tanglewood. “Magazine subscriptions, like National Geographic Kids*, Highlights*, or Sports Illustrated Kids*, are a fun way to foster learning and reading. Most children look forward to getting a new magazine in the mail every month, and you can read it together as a family.”
- Board games: “Board games are a great alternatives to video games, screen time, and electronics,” said Kara Carter, M.D., pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic - Katy. “They are interactive and allow family and friends to socialize and spend time with each other, while electronics and video games can often lack interpersonal interactions and be socially isolating for kids. Besides being fun, board games can be educational. For younger kids, they can reinforce counting, learning colors, and recognizing numbers and letters. For older kids, board games can reinforce problems solving strategies, creativity, and help with executive function skills. Overall, board games serve as a great way to have positive and engaged social interaction with your kids.”
Before purchasing a gift for a child, always read the labels to make sure a gift is safe and appropriate for your child’s age and level of maturity.
“The most important thing to remember when gift-buying for a special child in your life is that what kids want most is our time, attention, and affection,” said Richard Byrd, M.D., F.A.A.P., Chief of Pediatrics at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “It really doesn’t matter if you spend $10 on art supplies from the dollar store or $100 on a fancy day out – our kids want us to be there with them, present, and engaging with them in the moment. While the holidays will be made brighter by that focus on togetherness, it’s this practice of togetherness that helps children thrive on a daily basis.”
* Kelsey-Seybold Clinic does not endorse any specific products, book authors or manufacturers.*