Spring cleaning for parents


(Craig Cunningham/Associated Press)

It was the section’s annual Spring Cleaning query, in which editors asked writers to offer suggestions of one thing — an idea, a tradition, a habit, a technology, whatever — that we’d all be better off getting rid of. The group came up with some great ones, from engagement rings to tipping.

Here are a few of my top nominees in the parenting category:

Crib bumpers

We know these nursery decorations are dangerous. Why do magazine editors and marketers keep hawking them as adorable necessities for a well-appointed baby’s room?

• Snack time

Why do children need to be herded together and fed every two hours? These snacks, because of pressed time schedules of the parents assigned to provide them, tend to be processed and junky. Let’s rid ourselves of them. In one fell swoop, we’d please overburdened parents and teach our kids to learn to read their bodies’ hunger cues.

• Computer terminals in children’s sections of libraries

Talk about a skunk at a garden party, these pint-sized stations do little more than give kids a reason to fight over them and ignore actual books.

• Virtual reality video games

Full disclosure: I’ve never actually used these, so my criticism is entirely theoretical. But what I’ve heard is their big draw is that they mimic certain athletic experiences. Do children need a virtual reality athletic experience? How about we encourage our kids to enjoy real life, and join them in it too?

• Irons and ironing boards

Self-explanatory.

Disagree? Tell me why.

What are your top “Parenting Spring Cleaning” nominees?

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