One’s childhood should be the most exciting time of one’s life. It is an understatement to say that you get away with a lot of things when you are a child. From not eating your vegetables and staying away past bedtime to drawing your family on the wall in the kitchen. It is the time that you should enjoy most out of life while you are still under the care of your parents and not paying bills or fulfilling other responsibilities.
However; in this day and age, children seemingly lose touch of what it is to actually be a child. With a tablet or other device in one hand and a smartphone in the other, they are so wound up in the latest trends and mobile technology that they forget how to live and enjoy their childhood. It is not uncommon to see child prodigies and twelve year old students with their Bachelor’s degrees; where do they find the time to go out and be a kid?
Parents, we know you are looking into the future and want the best for your child. We know the world is very competitive and you just want your child to have that edge so they are at an advantage when they leave your house, but don’t forget they are children. Back in the day your parents and surely you as well, can attest to enjoying your childhood. Reminiscing on the times where you fell out of your treehouse and scraped your knee, or when you spent the whole summer by the pool and sprinkler in your backyard.
So in the spirit of not losing sight of your kid being a kid, here are some habits to adopt to ensure that your child enjoys their childhood, or what’s left of it.
Go outside/ Get Active
The sun is shining and the breeze is blowing. The birds, dogs and other animals shouldn’t be the only ones frolicking and enjoying what the day has to offer. Parents should encourage their child or children to go outside to soak up the sun, or play in the snow; just make sure they get active. Go outside, you don’t know what new things you and your child might find or what games you might invent.
Socialize with Peers Face to Face
It is all fun and dandy that you can talk to your friend miles away or your family member who lives on the other side of the world. You are adults and you don’t really have the time to socialize face to face, unless you have a free couple hours after work or on the weekend with your co-workers. Children have more free time and it seems everyone in the neighborhood has a child, so why don’t you get your child and go over to your friend’s house or to the park and have a play date? Your child needs to socialize with their peers outside of school and engage in more leisurely activities. Do not let them copy your habits of talking to their neighbor through Skype. Let them get out and about and make some lasting friendships.
Engage in age appropriate activities
Too many times you see children engaging in unfitting activities that do not suit their age. For instance, there was a viral video of a four year old putting on her mom’s makeup and another of a seven year old driving a car. The initial reaction is ‘oh that’s cute’ but when you look at it more seriously, you see that these activities, among others that children are doing these days, are very unsuitable. Therefore, ensure that your child gets involved in stuff that are apt for children. This will also help them to enjoy their childhood and not feel like they have to grow up too fast.
Family time is one of the most important times in a child’s life and if a child doesn’t grow up with that, it’s very hard to integrate it into their adult lives and their family. Parents should safeguard family time with various activities like family games night or even eating a meal together or sitting down to talk or watch a movie. That bonding time is untouched and many times adults bask in the memories and attribute who they are today to having spent those little times with their families.
Limit interaction with technological and mobile devices
The mobile devices have got to go if you want your child to not be hooked on them for a lifetime. When they get older they have plenty of time to be mentally attached to their smart phone or tablet, but for now, instill in them that this is not the time. Yes giving them a mobile device to play a game is one of the easiest ways for them to be occupied and quiet, but at the same time it is robbing them of interaction time and time that could be used to do something meaningful. Once you introduce them to the world of technology, there is no turning back, unless that’s what you want.
We are not telling you how to grow your child or children. To each their own and each parent has a plan for their child. Just saying that once they transition from childhood, it is hard to get that time back. It’s better to say that you had a great childhood than live with the regret of having spent most of it doing things you never enjoyed or living on your mobile device.
By Alexandra Daley