I was thinking the other day about how much childhood has changed since I was growing up. I find myself more and more saying it just isn’t as good as it used to be. Perhaps I sound like a grandmother, maybe it just comes with age but here are 6 not so great things that my kids have that I did not:
1. School Bus Transportation – In our area, even if you can see the school out your front window you are still entitled to a school bus ride. My kids don’t even have to walk to a stop – you get picked up right at the end of my driveway.
In comparison, I walked one mile to school, home and back for lunch, and home again at the end of the day for all of elementary school. I did take a bus to high school (it was about 3 miles away) but did have to walk to a bus stop. We had so much fun walking to and from school – a few of us would always land up meeting along the way.
2. Chain Restaurants – There are so many restaurants to choose from today. Everyone has a kids menu of some sort.
No matter what you tell me, when I eat out I eat more (mostly because there is waitress service so I get to sit down for an entire meal!) And, we wonder why we have an obesity problem in the USA. Obviously, there was McDonald’s, Burger King and a few more when I was a kid but not nearly as many as today. Plus, it was a huge treat to go out to eat. People just ate at home for the most part.
3. Organized Sports – My children get to participate in organized sports from the age of 4 years old and up. There is a sports team for each season and if you so chose you can play 2 sports during one season or play on 2 teams during one season. The kids parents are there at every game cheering the participants on – hit or strike out…Good job!
I, too, had organized sports but didn’t start until 4th grade, rode my bike to games and no parents came to cheer us on. We had LOADS of fun – lots of chatting and laughs. I can’t even remember what positions I played in elementary school. I do remember it was fun and never a chore to attend. Oh yeah, and the seasons where only about 8 weeks long and you never played 2 sports at once or on two teams unless you were training for the Olympics.
4. Cell Phones – Isn’t it great today – kids can get in touch with anyone at anytime and parents can check on their kids. How wonderful!
When I was a kid, you needed to carry a dime with you in case you needed to make a phone call. You were “out of touch” from your parents or friends hours or even days at times. There is something to be said for quiet time. There are certainly times now I wish I could be “out of touch” even for a few hours.
5. Constant Safety Net – As parents, we protect our children the best we can starting in infancy. Put them in car seats, try and eat healthy foods, wear helmets, etc. Of course we can not think of everything but we have thought of we are on top of it. Get a bad grade in school, don’t worry kids Mom and Dad will call the school and see where the teacher went wrong.
When I was a kid, we did not have car seats (in fact one time my sister and I rode in lawn chairs. My brother actually had a car that had milk crates for seats). Not saying we should not use car seats just sharing a funny story.
But, we were able to play outdoors without helmets on every two seconds. Sometimes I see my children actually playing tag with helmets on if they were just riding their bikes. Again, I am not saying kids should not wear helmets.
Regarding school, If I did poorly, the teacher was always right and I should have done better.
6. Internet and Cable Television – At the click of a button kids can find any information or get homework help. Want to watch a children’s television show? Turn on your tv at anytime and you can find kids shows.
As a child, we pretty much only watched tv Saturday mornings because that was the only time kids tv was on (maybe David and Goliath on Sunday morning if you were desperate). After school and weekends you played. You went outside and found friends to hang out with. If you needed information, you went to the library and looked it up.
Listen, don’t get me wrong there are lots of conveniences that we have now as parents. But overall, I do wish my kids sometimes were being raised during a different time. Here is how I try to make that time:
- limit television and video game use
- only play sports during that season
- eat out about 2x month
- let the teacher be right 99% of the time (can’t seem to give up that 1%)
- invite kids over the house for free play time
- they do ride in car seats and wear helmets (but I do remind them to take them off when playing tag)
- give them some independence where parents are not present
- play outdoors