Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Child Rearing Trends of the 21st Century

Nowadays, my memories of childhood might seem like the hard life. I remember spending hours playing dress up and dancing to music, pretending to be the prima ballerina. I remember being outside with my cousins during the long hot summers, complaining to stay in the air conditioning but Mom and Grandma would have none of that. I remember making forts from sticks in the backyard woods. I remember building Barbie houses on my bedroom floor out of shoeboxes. I remember water fights with buckets and cups. I remember long car trips when we listened to Adventures in Odyssey and decorated the new coloring books with our crayons.

I DON'T remember watching hours of cartoons and movies. I don't remember getting to play on Dad's iPad or Mom's iPhone (cause they didn't exist yet!). I don't remember playing loads of computer games unless they were math related.

Pinterest, Facebook, Blogs, News, it's all about apps and programs and screens today. It seems generally accepted that any free time our kids have (meaning, time not spent at school, doing homework, chores or sports) can be spent watching TV, playing video games or enthralled in the iPad apps. I find countless articles on best apps for preschoolers and how to childproof your iPad. Umm.... if your 18 month old knows how to get into trouble on your iPad, don't you think there's something wrong?

Being a nanny and long time babysitter, I've seen the children that don't know what to do with their time when you turn off the TV. Books are boring, toys old and uninteresting and what is that thing you call imagination? It saddens my heart!

Now I'm not one of the extremists who says "Throw away all your screens and never let your kids watch anything!!!" I like a good movie just like anyone else and I do enjoy the perks of having an iPhone. But whenever I have kids, I'm sure I'm going to be the mean mom. We won't have cable TV. I don't plan on letting my young children play with any iPhones or iPads we own (unless it's math related). Veggie Tales DVDs are likely to be the only children's movies on the shelf for a long time. But I pray that to replace all that screen time, my children will have their father's avid curiosity and my vivid imagination. I want stick forts in the yard, makeshift playhouses under the swing set and my children sprawled on the living room floor, surrounded by books.

I know, I'm not a mother yet and I'm sure whenever that happens, I'll have the days when I'm too tired to be diligent about monitoring my children's screen time. But overall, I hope I can be a mother that encourages my kids to read a book or go outside!

What are your thoughts on the subject?

You are loved so stay happy!

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