Fidget spinners: the seven questions all parents want answers to

Fidget spinners are all the rage right now so we asked two of our Attitude presenters, James Beck and Christian Gallen, to weigh in.

Image result for fidget spinnerWhat are fidget spinners?

They look like this.

Some of them are beautifully-machined from aluminium and spin perfectly. They are like scooters for your hands. They are easy to learn how to use, every kid has one and they are not as cool as skateboards.

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Who’s playing with them and why?

Everyone at your kid’s school is playing with them. Probably not in class though. Like anything cool and fun, teachers banned them really early on. It may be because they are distracting, it may be because some kids have them and some kids don’t, or it may be because one kid called Bradley told the whole class he can balance four on his nose while reciting the six times table.

So who’s playing with them? We know that heaps of kids do have a fidget spinner. We also know that the kids who don’t have one, want one. We also know that Bradley was lying – he doesn’t know the six times table.

What is the deal with crazes like this?

It is a craze just like chatter rings, yo-yos, oddbodz cards, beyblades, Star Wars cards from Countdown, Rubix cubes, kazoos, marbles, basketball cards and wearing active wear to the café. There’s not an exact science as to why these crazes happen but there is something going on that we can all relate to.

One of our deepest human needs is to be part of something. Which means one of our biggest human fears is missing out. One of the greatest challenges as a parent is working out what crazes and trends you are going to let your kid be part of. That can be a tension because all of us want our kids to belong but we also don’t want them to do anything that would harm them.

Should I allow fidget spinners at home?

You don’t have to. It would be really easy to get annoyed at fidget spinners. You could just think they are a waste of time and money and so you ban them. (Note – our reference about teachers earlier). But another option is to use it as an opportunity to bond with your kid.

Try one of these practical ideas

Have a competition to see who can keep their FS (no one calls them that by the way) spinning the longest. Do a really bad job at it and let them win the first few times. Then once they think they can beat you every time, put money on it. And when I say money, I mean chores. Then use your fully-developed adult strength to spin it so fast you beat them easily and enjoy watching them do the dishes for weeks. That’s one way to bond with your kid over fidget spinners.

You can spin them and use it instead of a pick to play the guitar. It gives you a crazy effect that your kids will be impressed by and then they’ll want a turn. But you won’t let them because you’re only halfway through Stairway to Heaven.

They can also be helpful if you need to randomly select who gets the front seat on the drive to school. Spin the fidget. Or you could balance it on your head and tell your friends that you’re a real helicopter parent. Your kids will be in stitches!

The list could go on forever but just be creative. Remember this is an opportunity to have fun with your kid and fun is the glue which keeps families together.

How many fidget spinners is too many fidget spinners?

In New Zealand, we have an average of 2.4 children per family. So therefore every child should have 2.4 fidget spinners. (Please note that that statistic is completely made up. You should just decide how many your own child has).

Who should be paying for this $6 toy?

This is a common fidget spinner-induced dilemma. That is a difficult one to answer because I don’t know how much money your kid has. Did they sign up to Kiwisaver before the government took away the $1000 entry bonus? It probably doesn’t matter. All I know is that if your kid has some sort of job and money then they can buy it themselves. If you want to spend your hard-earned cash on a fidget spinner for your kid, then I don’t think it will do any long-term damage. However it might help them fidget less and it will be an investment into having fun.

So are fidget spinners good or bad?

We did a random survey and here’s what we found. Attitude presenters said, “Good.” Teachers said. “Annoying.” Massive factories in China said, “Great.” The hip youth worker at your kids’ school said, “They are a practical tool to connect to youth.”

Your job as a parent is to provide the basics for your kid to thrive. It’s up to you if a fidget spinner is going to help your kid thrive physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually.­­­ All I know is being the only kid at school who didn’t have a yo-yo was dumb. But I still turned out alright anyway.

Attitude – equipping young people with life skills

Attitude – the youth education division of The Parenting Place – is dedicated to equipping teenagers with the information and skills they need to negotiate the adolescent years and build meaningful lives.

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