The summer passed by in a blur and suddenly here we are, 3 weeks into the new school year and the kids are already exhausted. I know that a lot of the tiredness comes from settling into a new routine and new classroom, with new teachers, but I also think that the modern approach to parenting could also be to blame.
When I think back to my childhood, I remember a lot of “down time”: home from school, something to eat, relax a bit, watch telly, play with my toys and then homework. After school activities were restricted to once or twice a week and every evening was spent with my family.
Consider the 3 or 4 after school activities, the 2 evening activities and the weekend exploits of my kids, and there doesn’t seem to be much time left for the family to spend together. I don’t think that we have signed our kids up for more than other parents and I think that there is great peer and school pressure to get involved in everything. Obviously the opportunities offered to our children are much more exciting than those offered in our youth, but I wonder whether we have got the balance right?
What do kids do when there is nothing organised to amuse them? What happens when they get bored? I don’t think our kids are learning to amuse themselves and think that it’s interesting that nearly all activities are adult-directed and not led by the children. Will this breed a generation of passive adults, waiting to be told what to do? Or will it create a well rounded group who have experienced everything and therefore made informed choices about their lives?
I don’t know the answer, but I do know that if I have to stand on the side of a sodden football pitch one more time this season…