I just returned from a family cruise vacation. Cruising with a preschooler, toddler, and a baby was a blast, really. My kids loved the constant buzz of ship activity. My toddler (slash on the verge of becoming a preschooler) especially loved looking for Spiderman among the waves. Betcha didn’t know Spidey hangs out in the Ocean when he’s not in the city saving people? Don’t worry if you didn’t know that. I didn’t either, until I intercepted a throw of my toddler’s baseball hat destined for the water far, far below the deck. My toddler explained, “Spidey will save my hat.”
Spidey has become a permanent fixture in my little guy’s brain–to the point of obsession which doesn’t even compare to my preschooler’s former love of Dora. My house is even overflowing with Spiderman. Spiderman band-aids, plates, utensils, cups, towels, clothing, slippers, sneakers, pencils. Thank goodness, I haven’t yet stumbled upon a Spidey car seat or Britax superhero replacement cover. But it’s probably only a matter of time until one makes its way into my household. After all, Graco already makes a Dora booster.
Curious about superhero obsession, I undertook a bit of online research on the subject. Is this normal almost preschooler behavior? Here’s what I learned, thanks to an informative Superhero case study:
* Superhero or pretend play (a.k.a. ”good guy vs. bad guy”) is normal and important in social development. Dramatic play rules!
* It’s normal for preschoolers to show intense interest in superheroes, usually around age four or five
* Superhero imitation helps children form their own identity, figure out differences between good and undesired behavior, and understand rules
* Superhero play helps children learn empathy
* Children can gain confidence through superhero play
Gee, I had absolutely no idea how important or healthy superhero obsession could be for kids’ social and moral (even physical) development! I just might now need to start setting a place for Spidey at the dinner table.
Has your child fallen for a superhero, too? If so, who?