Friends, please read these two articles:
What do you think? I love that moms of our generation are rethinking the kind of childhood they want to give their kids . We have come so far since the 1950’s. Science, technology and transportation are light years ahead of where they were. Yet, where I believe we have taken some major steps backwards is in how we are raising our kids.
There seems to be so much competition and pressure to give our children this well rounded, exciting, non-stop life. Now don’t get me wrong… I love taking my kids to birthday parties. I enjoy our adventures at The Arboretum and Knott’s Berry Farm. Being a stay at home mom, I thrive on playdates with other moms and kids with schedules similar to mine. I know that in the years to come- when school, sports, and extra curricular activities are thrown at us, we will be busy. But we will also need to find some balance. Balance is always important, and I will fight for it no matter how difficult it is to come by.
We are given so many options, and sometimes the best option is to unwind from the crazy and slow. it. down. Remember how that mom in the second article mentioned letting her kids hang out, watch cartoons, and literally do nothing around the house until 11am? We do that sometimes… not until 11am, but you get the gist. Now that my son is more talkative and interactive (at 2.5 mind you) it’s easier for me to discern the kinds of at-home actives he enjoys. For instance, he loves playing in the dirt. It took me just a little while to come to grips with the fact that I have a boy, and that boys like dirt. This means dirt will be under nails, and clothes will get changed more often. But who really cares, right? Dirt is fun, it’s free, and it’s found in my yard! If dirt rocks and exploring nature make my boy happy, they make me happy! Bonus- we don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy dirt!
Another thing I love about this 1950’s mentality, is that simplicity is the heart of childhood. Here are a few ways we reflect the 1950’s in our home:
Toys are played with.
Instead of having tons of toys that my son rarely touches, I am intentional about switching his toys out. He seems so much more engaged when his trains are switched from his bedroom to the living room, and when I bring out toys that have been “in hiding” for a few months.
We don’t go on expensive vacations.
Partly because we can’t afford them at this season of our lives. Even more though, I love that we can visit California’s coast, mountains, and everything in between, and I don’t feel like our kids are missing out. They are enjoying God’s beauty, and they are having new experiences. This is more than good enough!
We play outside.
This is so huge. We walk around our local park and collect pinecones. My son loves finding ollie ollies (rolly pollies). Some evenings after dinner we put the kids in the stroller and take a walk. It’s too easy to get cooped up inside and it’s also much more dull.
I could go on about this topic… I guess what I have discovered in so many areas of life is that less truly is more. Our children don’t need more actives, more things, and more busyness to give them a better life.
A better life is found right in your home. Its found in playing with neighbor kids. Take the bikes out of the garage and go for a ride. Your kids don’t have bikes? For heavens sake… get your kid a bike!
A better life is found in letting them play by themselves. And guess what- it’s perfectly okay for your kids to be board sometimes! This is a hard one for me. I have this guilt that clouds over my head when I can see my son getting restless or board- like I am somehow not doing or being enough for him. Sometimes I will continue on with my chores or whatever it is that I am doing at the time. Moments later, I will find that he has discovered a random toy from the bottom of one of the toy boxes. He’ll be completely engaged in a new activity. On his own. The reality is that we cannot entertain our kids every waking second. Part of childhood is self discovery, and we need to give our children space to learn and create independently.