Thursday, 4 May 2017

Muddy Knees, Shiny Screens, Childhood Dreams

Yesterday I watched as my three children played in the garden, whizzing down the slide in their own trademark styles and flying through the air while spinning crazily on the swing. They were happy, so happy, with smiles lighting up their little faces and giggles and laughter filling the air. They scrambled up the rock wall on to the deck of the play tower pretending to be ninjas, pirates and fairies with their imaginations firing on all cylinders. This is childhood, outdoor play at it's best.

An hour or so later and they were indoors, one plugged into an iPad watching Pokemon on Netflix having completed his homework, another rifling through a toy box pulling out various forgotten plastic toys exclaiming excitedly at every item he rediscovered, while our little artist was hard at work, cutting paper, glueing, sprinkling glitter and drawing her colourful creations. This is childhood, shiny screens, plastic toys and colour, lots of colour. 

As I looked at them I noticed all three had muddy knees, evidence of their earlier outdoors play. One had an ink moustache which he proudly came out of school sporting and made it hard for me to talk to him without smirking. Laughter, loudness, the usual squabbles over toys along with the never ending debate over who was the most powerful / magical / fastest etc became the music I worked to in the kitchen.  

Watching my children play together, in the garden and indoors flicking between technology, books, creativity and good old fashioned outdoors mud and fun made me reflect on what childhood is today. Yes, technology abounds with tablets and games consoles at little fingertips and as a result nearly every parent at some stage questions the amount of screen time they allow their kids. Is technology too much, is it affecting childhood? I don't think so, in my opinion an iPads or a child's 3DS doesn't take from their childhood experience, if anything it enriches it and helps their minds to develop, they become more inquisitive and full of wonder and fantasy. The majority of kids love to be outside, playing together climbing, sliding, swinging and weaving their own magical worlds which more often than not are influenced by their favourite TV characters. This is the childhood I want for my three, I want them to be tech savvy but I also want them to get outside and play and most of all use their imaginations to have fun. Their little for such a short time, they need to pack in as much fun as they can in that time. 


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