What happened to the days of letting kids be kids? Scrolling through social media these days reveals a carefully planned palette of photos showing the perfect family vacation, play dates, and organized birthday parties. A child’s calendar looks more like a booking site for a Hollywood socialite with endless commitments and social engagements. Are parents making parenting harder than it really needs to be?
Why Are We So Afraid To Let Our Kids Be Kids?
In the days of Baby Boomers and Generation X, many children had the experience of just going outside to play. Parents would send you out to play and tell you to come back for lunch, dinner, and when the street lights came on. As kids, you played with all of your friends on the block, riding bikes, playing games, using your imagination and so much more.
Even when my daughter was growing up, she would have sleepovers with friends and the girls would just entertain themselves. I would check in on them every now and again to make sure everyone was good, but otherwise, just let them spend time together. What has changed that parents now feel this need to be involved in every moment of their children’s lives?
Is The Stress Of Trying To Be Perfect All Too Much?
Being the perfect parent, the model mommy, or daddy of the year doesn’t come without its price. It’s a great title to shoot for, but is it really necessary? The reality is no. Your children are going to love you whether you have the official title or not. Parenting is not easy and there is no one perfect way to do it. Most parents are working at least part-time and managing a multitude of responsibilities in a world that is ridiculously fast-paced.
When you are trying to manage your own busy calendar and your children’s calendars, it can get to be a bit too much to handle. It may be time to consider letting go of the schedule when you are in the comfort of your home. Consider the last time you just had a relaxing evening at home with your family. If you don’t remember when this happened, maybe it’s time for an adjustment. “Kids whose time is overly organized don’t have time to be kids, and their family doesn’t have time to be a family,” says pediatrician Deb Lonzer, MD. (1)
Time At Home Can Be Spent Apart
We are in a time where parents are keeping a close watch on their kids because of the status of society today. Sure, things have definitely changed since Baby Boomers and Gen Xer’s were kids. This doesn’t mean that once the family is safe and sound at home you as a parent can’t take a break – you can. Much of this comes down to your mindset and how you approach this with your children.
Here are some ways that your children can actively engage with siblings or friends and give you some downtime to recoup and regroup. Consider some of these for the next time you are ready for a break:
- Board Games
- Legos or Building Blocks
- Coloring Books and Crayons
- A Family Library
What’s great about these suggestions is that they allow for creativity, cooperation and get your children away from screens. Your kids will learn some great skills with face to face interaction and time spent together.