Having had the joy of being parents and then grandparents for nearly four decades, we are still amazed at the wide range of parenting techniques we have tried ourselves over the years, and have heard many parents themselves confess to having tried.
One such discussion still heard today concerns what activities if any your young child should be doing in their ‘free’ play time at home? We are not talking about when they are involved in structured play at preschool or kindy with qualified teachers, but at home with you. Should you as a parent also be attempting to structure their play time in detail so they are always involved in doing something educational and good for them?
You see, some parents believe that a young child should always be learning while they are at home; where mum or dad ensure that little Mary and Johnny are constantly being educated rather than being left to their own devices to be idle and just ‘play.’
The trouble with this approach would seem to be that you are in danger of trying to raise a clone of yourself. Subconsciously you teach them what you like to do, feed them what you enjoy eating, teach them your bad habits, and keep them from activities you hate. You structure their time in accordance with what YOU would have preferred.
And perhaps with this approach, the child over time would fail because he or she cannot be you. They are themselves and need to grow and explore this wonderful world in a way that only they can. Using their most amazing gift of imagination your child needs to experiment and learn and grow according to their own design, rather than yours. They will still fail of course, but they will more readily learn from the experience.
We have discovered many times that our little ones would much rather play with an empty box or some noisy kitchen saucepan and lid, than the expensive and educational toys we had bought – because we liked them! A spare sheet, some old clothes, a wooden spoon and empty tin, a bucket and spade: all these things allow a child to explore, deal with challenges, and learn about their world in a very special way, and in a way that they want to. Musicians learn from creating noise as children. Engineers learn from building and creating. And because they want to, not because we make them.
We are all for education, and have great respect for all child educators. But perhaps when your little ones comes home from learning and you have a spare 30 minutes before dinner, just let them be kids. Sit back and watch them be themselves at free play. You might just be surprised at how they will still grow and mature into beautiful individuals without being controlled or feeling the need to conform to your expectations.
Helpful Link: Parenting 101
Living each adventure,
Christine and Trevor
Encouraging people and providing relevant tools to allow everyone to live a healthy, active, fulfilling life which can be enjoyed and lived to the full.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is written for informational purposes only and is based on Christine and Trevor’s own life experiences. No recipe featured on this site should ever be attempted or consumed if known or suspected allergies exist. Nothing featured here should be taken as medical, health, professional or legal advice. It is always recommended that you consult the appropriate professional before changing any routine or adopting any new procedure.