When i think of my childhood i see freedom, i think of adventure, building forts, shooting arrows, climbing trees, bruised knees and friendships.
Then i think to the childhood of today and i see a different picture, we live in such a fast paced world and our children are coming along for the ride.
The simplicity of childhood is disappearing and in its place is a generation of children with attention and anxiety issues. Interestingly, research shows a most common activity for young children is tv and video games. Screen time is fast replacing the childhood we know and love.
We over fill our children's lives with screens and activity after activity, herding them into the car for play dates, dance lessons, football games and tutoring, trying to give our children the abundance of learning opportunities that are available to us now, but are we robbing our children the gift of boredom which encourages creativity and self-directed learning?
Studies are now showing that children flourish when their days are simplified. " A researcher conducted a study in which he simplified the lives of children with attention deficit disorder. Within four short months 68% went from being clinically dysfunctional to clinically functional. The children also displayed a 37% increase in academic and cognitive aptitude, an effect not seen with commonly prescribed drugs like Ritalin."
So what can we do?
- Let children play! Simple, un-structured play. Give them the free time to just be, their imagination will come alive!
- Reduce screen time were possible, not just for the kids but mum and dad too
- Spend more time in nature, whether that be in your garden, at the park, the beach or a walk around your neighborhood
- Reduce their toy and book collection, keep the favourites or rotate with a range of age appropriate toys to ignite the imagination
- Simplify the information that they are receiving, children are naturally curious but too much information about the complex issues of our world can overwhelm them, they simply can not understand or rationalize this adult information and can lead to emotional struggles and anxiety issues.
Childhood can be a time of beauty and adventure, we just need to slow down and let it happen
( Our son building a fort from broken branches and rope at 6am one morning )