Erin Stewart: Why my kids don't have fidget spinners

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  • LindsayFerguson Riverton, Utah
    May 19, 2017 11:01 a.m.

    The bigger issue for the writer here is her ability to say no to her child. Her child wants a toy that is a fad because "everyone has one." Guess what - that is going to happen the rest of her daughter's life! There are always going to be things other people have she wants and the mom is going to have to learn to deal with that. So why not teach her some real life skills? Instead of demonizing something that is nothing more than a small spinning toy and saying "no! Absolutely not!" and proceeding to think up every ridiculous reason why they are "evil" - why not deal with the bigger issue. Say, "I'm not going to buy you one, but if you really want one you can buy one with your own money." If she doesn't have money, let her do chores to earn some. Then, let the child decide if the item is really worth spending her money on. This is what I did with my kids and it worked great. It gives them a chance to exercise real life skills. Honestly, this is a form of helicopter parenting and embodies a lot of what is wrong with parenting these days. Let your child make some choices, spend money, and decide if the item was worth it instead of swooping in and controlling the situation.

  • LindsayFerguson Riverton, Utah
    May 19, 2017 10:02 a.m.

    Massive eye roll for this article. Do we really have to hear about how you are a better parent because your kids don't have fidget spinners? My kids play with them at home and with each other and friends. It's called a fad. They have bought them with their own money. It's a fun "it" toy comparable to a yo-yo, finger trap, pogs, etc. I actually think they are great to give them something to do (news alert - kids have active brains and like to play with things!) and require focus and eye/hand coordination. And they aren't relying on adult to entertain them, or electronics. It's like any other small toy. You can choose to be annoyed with them or just laugh them off as the latest fad and appreciate the fact that they are a cheap $5 toy that can give kids something to do for hours (in comparison to expensive games and devices so many kids and parents rely on these days). Fun childhood memories. I don't normally write negative comments on posts or articles, but this is just silly. And taking a step back, honestly, I expect more from Deseret News than this kind of judgement-filled, parent shaming article.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 18, 2017 2:50 p.m.

    I don't think anybody's saying prohibit them totally... but suggesting parents put some restrictions on them (like can't take them to school, church, etc). No need to prohibit them.

    They are cool and don't do any harm if you have limits you both agree on.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    May 18, 2017 2:29 p.m.

    I fail to understand why a parent would prohibit one of these.

    But it doesn't matter much either way.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 18, 2017 10:25 a.m.

    Looks like many are comparing them to tops. I didn't play with tops when I was young, but I know what they are. They are fun to learn to throw, but did you want to play with it all day every day, and had a hard time putting it down, even in class?

    That's the difference. The spinners are not something you play with for awhile and then put it down and do something else (like a top) for some. The motions become habitual and unconscious repetitive motions some kids don't want to stop (especially autistic kids). They want to keep repeating it. Even if they need to be doing something else.

    I don't remember tops being like that. An obsession. You wanted to keep doing it, even in class. You have to do it... to calm your mind.

    It is a good way to teach boundary setting. But for parents who struggle with this with the iPad, video games, or TV, may also give up and not teach boundaries with these habit forming toys they can easily take to school (where parents can't tell them not to use them).

    I'm sure it's not the end of the world. But something to think about.

    I think you should get one. But be sure to set boundaries. Like no using it at school. Time limits, etc.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 18, 2017 9:39 a.m.

    IMO teaching kids they must constantly fidget in class teaches them ADHD and obsessive compulsive habits. Even if they aren't naturally ADHD or OCD.

    I think we need to be teaching kids how to sit still and listen in class. Not giving them widgets to play with constantly and distract them and others from what is being taught (even if it is boring).

    You can tell the difference between kids who have been taught how to sit reverently and listen in church, and those who haven't been taught and really really struggle with it. It's not something in their DNA. It's something that can be trained and taught.

    Same goes for behavior in school. Good behavior can be taught. So can bad behavior. We can teach kids how to sit and listen in school. And we can also teach them to be constantly fidgeting and distracting themselves and others.

    Using these fidget stimulating toys on recess or if you have a medical need, but not just because everybody in the class is playing with theirs while the teacher is trying to teach.

    The last thing most students need in class is another distraction.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    May 18, 2017 9:36 a.m.

    Maybe if they were named Finger Spinners they might be seen for what they are - a cool, non-digital toy that happens to be very popular.

    And, yes, there are places they should remain in kids pockets or at home, but they just don't rise to the level of "detrimental to children's development".

    (I've got mine in my pocket right now.) : )

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    May 18, 2017 7:57 a.m.

    Get your kid a fidget spinner and use it as an opportunity to teach them boundaries. They are inexpensive, quiet and, best of all, don't use electricity. Let them use it at certain times of the day but forbid them from using it during school classes or at church.

  • Elcidqwerty Bountiful, UT
    May 18, 2017 2:49 a.m.

    Spinners are a pretty cool engineering application of age-old discoveries of physics. Instead of denying her children a normative experience (for a $6 toy?!), Erin could buy one of the kits for them to make their own spinners. It would be an awesome summer experience that engages her kids without even realizing they're learning.

    Give your kids physics demonstrations and biology classes and Faraday Lectures (U Chemistry Department) and engineering day . . .

    Do you really want to be one of those parents who walked three miles uphill through the snow both ways to get to school parents? Why?

    Some things are just fun. Enjoy them. Relish them. Don't make everything into a moral high horse.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 17, 2017 10:25 p.m.

    Just wondering if Erin had a Rubik's cube, a top, jacks, played with a ball etc. Those things were cool back in the day but these new gadgets aren't. Sounds pretty hypocritical to me. We, older people, need to remember back when we were young, I mean really remembers vs. what we think actually happened. We're not so different. In fact, many kids like Rubik's cubes now. And I'm sure teachers back in the day found them just as distracting to their students and parents found them to be a waste of time.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 17, 2017 10:14 p.m.

    Kids fidget. Back in the day we clicked pins, doodled on paper, or maybe just stared into space in agony.

  • SP Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2017 10:10 p.m.

    If I find a toy that engages kids in tactile learning and that doesn't have electricity, I welcome it in a minute. The fidget spinner is hands-on science in action. They will fall out of fashion as quickly as Kendama, but are a great coordination activity.

    My favorite toys in this category are the Perplexus marble track and the Ripstick skateboards.

    May 17, 2017 8:12 p.m.

    Children need to start making their own choices and learning from them as soon as possible, especially when they are still in the relative safety of home.

    I tried to teach my children the difference between "need" and "want". If my children "wanted" something they were free to save up money they earned and purchase it. Or, wait until a birthday or Christmas when they may or may not get what they wanted. Often they found that what they "wanted" was a waste of money and time. But, setting goals, saving money and delayed gratification are lessons they need to learn as early in life as possible.

  • weightless skittles Hewitt, Texas
    May 17, 2017 7:09 p.m.

    Figit spinners are a gimmick. I am currently a teacher of a high school STEM class. All these devices do, is keep my students from focusing on their work. I have yet to see the benefit to of the more than 200 students I have from using it to " focus". My students are learning concepts of 3D design, Robotics design and programming, and the fundamentals of Rocketry. The software they use is found in the Engineering and Annimation Industry. If they are busy spinning they are not attending to their work and they usually get behind rapidly and it is to their detriment. If a person wants this for fun outside a classroom, that is their choice. But, to stifle learning over a toy that will fizzle out over time is to cut away from the future success of our students. These spinners are banned in my class and my students readily admit that they do not keep them focused on their. Work.They are honest with me and to themselves. I only hope that parents and others students elsewhere are as honest.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    May 17, 2017 4:46 p.m.

    @Johnny Triumph

    We love wooden tops too! How fun that you keep some on your desk! We kept a bowl of tops in our kitchen for years that everyone played with.

    My teenage sons learned to run a lathe in junior high and one of them brought me into the wood shop after school and taught me how to use it. We ended up buying one of our own and we all turned some pretty cool wood tops. My sons earned money selling them.

    I now have students making fidget spinners with 3-D printers and selling them. Pretty nifty, I think.

  • citygrrl SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    May 17, 2017 4:15 p.m.

    Last night I told my husband that a teen-age son of a friend of mine called them in the middle of the school day to pick him up. "I just can't take it," to which my friend responded, "You just can't give up at 16." My husband exclaimed, "What happened?" because in his day, you toughed the school day out. You didn't ever ask for something because everyone had it. My in-laws would read this post in utter disbelief. So would my parents.

    How did we get to this point in society, where kids have to be entertained every single second, they have to be given everything they want, and if they are bored they become utterly insufferable for every one around them? Why have adults caved into fear about standing up to their kids? I'm not familiar with this toy, but I don't think Erin's making a mountain out of a molehill. Finally, a parent willing to hold the line...

  • Johnny Triumph Lahaina, HI
    May 17, 2017 3:30 p.m.

    @jeannie - I'm 45 years old and have multiple Tops on my desk. I agree completely with you, it's a nice little break to stop and play around with one, and the spinners are no different. These are not new toys, just a new imagining of a very old idea...

  • Johnny Triumph Lahaina, HI
    May 17, 2017 3:25 p.m.

    For some reason DN said my earlier post had vulgarities in it...see what you think!

    You'd better watch out, you'll get burned by flat out saying No to something silly like this. My sister-in-law seriously limits snacks in their house; when the kids come to our house they constantly beg or sneak treats and sodas. Yes, we keep a few packs of cans of soda in our garage...the cans sit there for months before they're consumed. Initially I was worried they'd pass on water to drink a soda, but they nearly solely drink water and pass on soda. Now, do I think that we should fill our houses with the crap of the world just so we learn how to pass it by? No way. But I see the impact that a flat No has on kids. It shows no trust in them and convinces them to sneak what they want. And there's no shortage of places to find things like spinners or treats.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    May 17, 2017 2:38 p.m.

    When my kids were young I was a pretty strict mom. If something was a fad I was immediately suspicious of it and usually rejected it simply because "everyone had it".

    My husband and I worked hard to raise kids that could think and create, who could deal with boredom and live in the real world that doesn't just give you everything you wanted. This philosophy included cell phones. Our oldest kids didn't have a phone until they bought one themselves after they graduated high school.

    But I must say, I enjoy fidget spinners.

    I am a teacher and my students and I have discussed how ball-bearings work, why they work better than simple posts and laws of physics, how the weight and balance of the spinner effects how long it will spin, etc. I had no problem with keeping the kids attention.

    It seems to me that a spinning object is a pretty fantastic toy. It is interesting simply because it spins.

    In a world full of loud, flashy, and self absorbed things pulling for young people's attention, to have something real and simple be such a fad is pretty cool!

  • Johnny Triumph Lahaina, HI
    May 17, 2017 1:44 p.m.

    And I'm curious why it's a problem with spinning wheels in our heads? I remember being young, in bed and trying to fall asleep, in rural Utah. Nothing to do. But falling asleep was a chore since I just wanted to lay there and think. Spinning wheels in our heads are a fantastic problem to have, the last thing I want to do is become a lazy thinker.

    I have a lot of issues with this article and the methods mentioned in dealing with kids...

  • MarkJ South Jordan, Utah
    May 17, 2017 1:00 p.m.

    Seems a bit of an over-reaction to a pretty simple toy that kids are likely to have fun with and then get bored with just as quickly as they do with most toys. I don't think owning one or not owning one is going to change anyone's life for better or for worse. I find it a stretch to tie this particular toy into any larger discussion about brain stimulation or processes, but my impression from using one is that it can be very effective at distracting the conscious part of my brain that sometimes has needless anxiety and allowing me to relax and let more important deeper thoughts start to surface.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    May 17, 2017 12:53 p.m.

    @Christmas - You're right, it's a fad which is all the more reason not to buy one for a child. Kids need to learn that just because something is popular it's not necessary. As others have pointed out, let them buy it with their own money (if they're old enough to do that) but no parent should just buy their kids something because "everyone else has one."

    I agree that kids rely too much on artificial stimuli/entertainment. I feel like kids today have a much more limited imagination than they did even 15 years ago.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    May 17, 2017 12:49 p.m.

    I've watched a lot of video snippets sitting behind minivans full of children who would be insufferable without them for five minutes on the drive to the mall.
    Yeah, they're overstimulated, and they're not going to be very useful adults because of it.

  • Christmas South Jordan, UT
    May 17, 2017 11:18 a.m.

    People are over reacting. As with any fad, kids tend to get bored with stuff like this over time and move on to something else. Two of my kids have these spinners and they're already collecting dust. Let kids be kids and stop worrying about the "what-ifs". It seems hypocritical to talk about the distractions of using an iphone, when adults are the ones setting the example.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    May 17, 2017 11:10 a.m.

    Since when have children NOT relied on "external objects" for entertainment.

    There were wheeled toys in ancient Egypt.

    Give the kids a break, willya? Let em play with their fidget toys.

  • DavidMiller Bountiful, UT
    May 17, 2017 10:18 a.m.

    Very well said. I think that there are some kids who can benefit from these but for most kids it is nothing more than a way to ensure that they never have to have a dull moment. I also appreciate the self-awareness that many of us use our phones for the same purpose of filling every spare instant in our lives.

    Here's hoping that as a society we can learn to slow down and accept the value of some empty time in life as well as active time.

  • Danny Chipman Lehi, UT
    May 17, 2017 9:14 a.m.

    I wouldn't be opposed to my kids having them, but they'd have to buy it with their own money (unless a birthday is coming up), and they'd have to respect rules at home and at school regarding where, when, and how they can use them, just like any other toy.

  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    May 17, 2017 8:59 a.m.

    Can these things be fidget-spinned with one hand? Cuz ya know, these days the kids (of all ages) are holding their "smart phones" in the other hand. And... can you fidget-spin with one hand and clickety-clack on your phone with the other, and still drive?

  • gatsby Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2017 8:34 a.m.

    Well done. I agree completely. When do we have time to ponder, to create, to imagine? Interesting to note the symbolic relationship, if nothing else, between the article I just read on DN about the proliferation of energy drinks and people's addiction to caffeine...a stimulant. These spinners are possibly another stimulant.

    we all need more time to slow down, relax and yes be bored at times. That's when we rejuvenate and the quality of our lives goes up