Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Cramming it in

I know I have said before that I like to keep things simple - well above all this applies to the way we entertain our children.

On the way to pick five year old up from school my three year old (didn't post anything about her birthday but yes she's three now) was collecting sticks along the way. "This one's for you mummy, this one's for my sister", etc. I think it's a wonderful knack that young children have to be able to entertain themselves with the simplest of things. But it seems we in our busy 21st century lives are intent on training our children out of this knack. Instead of encouraging them to find things to do we usher them from one external entertainment to another.

For example: I have just had one of five year old's friends round for tea who was picked up not long before my kids' bathtime and rushed off to Rainbows. This is one of three organised activities she does in a week, the others being swimming and ballet. I have mixed feelings about all this rushing around, most of it by car obviously. For this year at the very least I haven't signed five year old up to any clubs or classes. Part of me feels that I am letting her down by not taking her to ballet, swimming, music lessons or gym, but another part of me feels that there is no need for a child of that age to have so much going on in their life. And given that she now spends five days a week in the school environment then I also feel that she needs some time to simply be. I am not criticising other parents by writing this, there's a very strong chance that in ten years time I'll be hearing the regular refrain: "and you never even let me go to ballet when I was in Primary school!!".

Clearly mine is a very middle class dilemma, if I were living on the breadline struggling to make my rent payments I wouldn't even be giving this a thought.

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