A Challenge

Basically, if you don’t have little kids, this will bore you to death so carry on.

For those of you who do have little ones…I have a challenge for you. Next time you go to the park for an hour or two, don’t take any snacks and leave your hand sanitizer at home (or throw it out for good). Here’s the deal:

My earliest memory is walking home from my Pre School (age 4ish) which was the distance of a suburban block. After arriving home and

The park I grew up playing in.

The park I grew up playing in.

searching the house for my mom I found my Uncle Graeme doing some work in the basement. He informed me that “Oh yeah” my mother had just given birth to my little brother Fraser and was at the hospital. What if I hadn’t come home? If you knew my Uncle or anyone on my Dad’s side of the family you would agree, he might not have noticed. Aaaaahhhh the 70’s. Anyhoo, the point; I was doing a lot on my own at a young age. My parents loved and cared deeply for me and I always felt safe and to be perfectly honest, I never really thought about it. We lived across the street from a park and I would often play there with my brothers and my neighbours. Here’s where my point comes in…I don’t have ANY memories of my mom ever stepping foot in the park let alone laying down a blanket with a variety of snacks for me to nibble on. She most def was not calling me over from the playground to sit down to eat some cucumber. And she would NEVER ask me to rinse my hands with sanitizing lotion first. In fact, I’m pretty sure, when we were playing in the park, she was crossing her fingers in the hopes that we’d play for at least another hour before we came home. If we came home hungry, she’d provide us a with a freshly polished apple (I doubt it was even polished).

Please don’t think I’m belittling loving, doting moms who do provide a little buffet. I just don’t think all this babying and doting is necessary and if we collectively choose to drop out of the “who’s the best mom” contest our job will be a whole lot easier. In fact, I think it’s a negative for the kids. I am guilty of some coddling with my first and second for sure. Even my third at times but Cash is 8 and can barely cut up a pancake on his own. Knox is 3 and can do a 24 piece puzzle by himself, is starting to use a knife at meals and he LOVES it. These kids are capable, we just have to let them try.

To this day, my favourite park.

To this day, my favourite park.

So again, here’s the challenge; take your kids to the park (I am not suggesting you send them off on their own as per Barbara Jean Smith). Let them rip around for a couple hours and work up an appetite. Take them home. Have them wash their hands in the sink with a bar of soap (old school). Let them be silent while they mow on strawberries, snap peas and cheese. Mellow out with a Dora (or a book if you’re good) and call it a good excellent afternoon? I just don’t get the “Come take a break, sit down on the blanket and have a few snacks” delio that’s going on out there. Little boys and girls of the world will stop having the time of their lives on the playground and come to us when they’re hungry. And when they are, they can wait till we get home for a snack. Are we afraid these kids are going to pass out? Seriously…what’s the deal?

The added bonus? No 10 minutes of prepping for the park. No bag to carry. No containers to accidentally leave behind when it’s time to go home. Just grab your jackets and go.

Side note: Did you know that letting your little ones get down and dirty is a benefit to their health? Check it out!   http://www.webmd.com/parenting/d2n-stopping-germs-12/kids-and-dirt-germs


10 Comments on “A Challenge

  1. Karen, you are raising such valid points and a great challenge! Both Sawyer and Rachel attended a tremendous preschool that was built on the philosophy that children learn and grow emotionally, intellectually through “free play”. I have always been frustrated with the general expectation that we as parents should have our kids, at such a young age, participating in multiple structured, scheduled activities and organized sports with an adult involved in supervision and problem solving at all times. How many times are you asked, “So what activities are your kids in?” What would people say if you responded, “No activities…they just play outside”. Everyone is rushing around valuing their parenting contributions on being busy, busy, busy! How many kids can still actually just amuse themselves with their imagination and a stick? Why is that not valued? I’ve heard a parent refer to that as “idle time” with disgust.

    So frustrated was I at one time with this issue, that I talked to neighbours and friends about starting a small revolution called, “Take back the parks”. My idea was that kids (including preschoolers with older children) would be dropped off at the park near our house at designated hours and left there for a couple of hours with no adult involvement. Still not as ideal as the ol’ days, because parents would have driven their kids to the park and I would have been the “on call” parent if needed but it never got off the ground. Definitely, some moms looked at me like I had lost my mind.

    Anyway, I was on the Board of that sweet little preschool that believed in “free play” for a couple of years and one time organized an evening viewing for parents of the following documentary that CBC aired at the time.

    You will love it and I encourage all to watch. It’s called, “The Lost Adventures of Childhood”. You can view it on youtube at this link.

    …Want to start a revolution? xo Les.

  2. So well said Karen – I too wonder about those blanket moms
    Go play come back later unless it’s broken or bleeding I don’t want to hear from you

    • I know Ter. It’s so lame. Back in the 70’s our mom’s may not have had cars but it was in the days when a village (neighbourhood) raised a kid.

  3. PLEASE write a book! It will be the only parenting book I read. Oh and the one my girlfriend Michele is publishing in September, which is about this generation of anxiety-ridden children caused by anxious, helicopter parents. Go figure.
    And I agree with your hand sanitizer comment.. that shit is the worst thing you can use on yourself and your child.

  4. Pingback: Take the “No Snacks” Challenge! : Free Range Kids

  5. Pingback: A Mom Says, Just Leave the Snacks at Home!

  6. Pingback: Could you go a day without giving your kids snacks? | Baby Montgomery

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