Did I miss a memo? Is every moment in childhood supposed to be a learning moment? Are kids supposed to be doing flash cards, math problems, and sight words at every possible opportunity or can we just let them play with sticks and use their imaginations?
When I grew up, my mom practically locked us outside and told us to stay out there until the street lights came on.
We climbed mountains (actually it was Cavanal, the world’s highest hill), rode horses, went swimming, built tree houses, played sports, rode bikes, etc. You name the game, we probably played it. And we did all of this without adult supervision.
We had the best imaginations and I played the pink power ranger better than ANYONE…. come at me bro!
Now that I’m a mom, I’m noticing a trend in my generation. We think we can do everything better than our parents did. Our parents must have been lunatics! How dare they let us go outside unsupervised? Can you believe they fed us food covered in chemicals and pesticides? I am shocked to learn that we were allowed to ride our bikes without helmet and knee pads!
I know that I was once one of those sanctimommies, especially after I had my first baby.
No one could do anything for my child as well as I could.
I was kind of a psycho.
I can remember getting mad at my mom for taking my newborn baby outside to see “Fireman Santa” while I napped. “Fireman Santa” is a real thing… it’s literally Santa riding around neighborhoods in a fire truck (only in Arkansas). I wouldn’t have believed it either, but there are pictures as evidence…
I was so angry that I didn’t get to take my child to see Santa! Why would my mom do that? You want to know why? She was being a good mom to ME. She was letting me catch up on some much-needed rest. Instead of waking me, she took pictures so I could enjoy the rare sighting of “Fireman Santa”.
She was being a GREAT mom to me then and she still is today!
You’ll be happy to hear that I’ve lightened up tremendously after I had The Dude. Bless him.
Everything for my first baby was sterilized and perfect, not so much for baby number 2. If his pacifier dropped on the ground, I would pick it up, pop in in my mouth to “clean” it, and then plug it right back into his mouth.
Don’t judge me.
Now let’s talk about kids today.
I’m not kidding when I tell you I believe we are making our kids grow up too damn fast!
I was at a toy store last weekend picking up some silly, junk toys for my kiddos when I saw a mom making her child do the math and figure out how much money she needed to pay the cashier AND how much change she was going to get back. The child was MAYBE 4 years old. That kid wasn’t able to leave with her new toy unless she got the answers right…..All this little girl wanted to do was play with her new toy.
Did I already say SHE WAS 4!? Geez!
Let’s let kids be kids!
I am all about raising smart, thoughtful children, but I don’t think a 4-year-old needs to know how to balance a check book… at least not yet.
When kids are young they learn through play. So let’s let them play!
Now, I am in no way a specialist in child development. Please don’t think I am speaking as a professional. These are purely my opinions.
What to expect from my kids
My children are not perfect. I am not delusional. I know they are wild and whiny and sometimes just flat-out brats! They get disciplined, and are learning right from wrong. We are also giving them responsibilities/chores. Nothing too big, but enough to let them learn how to earn something.
My husband and I want our kids to be kind and respectful, but we also understand that they are 5 and 2…. just little kids.
We want them to be silly and tell jokes that don’t make sense. We want them to belly laugh and run hard. There are so many memories to be made in childhood that we don’t want our kids to miss.
So it is important to know that in my family, we don’t take ourselves or life too seriously.
If you invite either of my kids to a birthday party, they will always get to pick out the gift themselves. It will most likely be something silly like a fart gun. I can almost guarantee that it won’t be flash cards or educational puzzles.
I write all of this to simply say:
Let’s let our kids play and enjoy being kids.
I don’t know about you, but I would love to be a kid again!