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Reality Check: Smart Talk About Learning Toys

Q. My friend's nursery is filled with educational toys. All I've got for my 7-month-old is stuffed animals and stacking blocks! Am I depriving my child?

A. We've all felt the pressure to make sure our children are keeping up -- or even getting ahead. But don't buy into it. There's no proof that special educational toys make babies any smarter. Besides, there are learning opportunities and toys all around your child -- most of which won't cost you a dime. Sing to your child as you hold him close, give him a wooden spoon and a pot and let him have at it, or take him for a walk to see a real flower or two. It's fine if you want to get your baby some educational toys, but keep in mind that he's already got the best one possible: you.