Magical childhood… A Parents Dream!
Created by Leena Vaidya - Joshi Updated on Jun 13, 2022
I wonder if the crucial basic tasks of feeding, clothing, protecting and educating children have not changed, then how come parenting seems to have become so hard today? What has not changed is that babies still need what babies need, but things outside the domestic sphere have changed for the parents. Abundant financial resources, expansion of material opportunities, plentiful choices and entertainment and a need of the child for immediate gratification are possibly the facts that are making child rearing seem burdensome!
That makes me wonder how much stress and pressure we take as parents to have that perfect birthday party for our little one, the perfect summer holiday, or simply the perfect play date? For example, let’s look back at our own birthdays versus the lavish birthdays of our little ones!
What I remember from my childhood is not the party pack, decoration on my birthdays, elaborate impeccably served fancy food, the hundreds of expensive gifts I received, but what I remember is running around in the backyard with my few best friends, bursting balloons, the delicious simple cake, sandwiches or Pav Bhaji that my mom cooked and everyone ate till they licked their fingers. There were no clowns, characters, planned games or more adults than children at the party. There were no themes and matching plates and decorations. There was simply loads of running around and playing games freely with my few best friends!
So why do we, new-age parents pressurize ourselves to create a grand production that will wow every adult who attends the party, if what a child really wants is lots of free play, a cake and their best friends? Are we ourselves increasing our child’s appetite for entertainment and grand productions?
Other than the few photographs I don’t remember much about the holiday we took when I was 5. What I do remember is holidaying at grandparents, playing in the garden in mud, story time, which was an everyday ritual or those special occasions like Diwali and birthdays—the only times when we got special gifts and clothes? Those were special and valued more than the expensive gifts, toys, clothes and parties, we as parents are giving almost round the year.
Since when did being good parents become spending on elaborate birthdays, making sure children’s rooms are decked to perfection, loads of branded toys, dressing them in trendy coordinated outfits? Did our parents, grandparents love their children any less by not doing all this? Or is it just financial ability, access to resources and parents will for that perfect looking child, child's room and children’s parties that give a pat on mothers back by the other adults who see all this?
More than any of these children today need exclusive time with their parents and an opportunity for free play, discovering play from everyday things. It has been rightly said, “It’s not what you do for your children, but what you taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings” – Ann Landers.
A fundamental skill parents can teach their children is self-control. But then, we as parents need to learn to follow that first. It’s a skill that allows one to get on with others, to focus and stick to tasks.
There is a huge difference between focusing on being together and focusing on the construction of an activity for a child. While today’s parents, are more involved but the involvement seems to go overboard, more often than not on not-so important things.
It’s simply about keeping your phone away, keeping the newspaper/book down, switching off the TV and giving 100% attention to what your child is saying. Sit and read with your child every day and play outdoors with them.
It’s about exclusive time to listen and giving time for free play rather than assisted play with toys, arranged crafts and videos!
Planning elaborate events, daily crafts, expensive vacation isn’t harmful but if the desire to do so comes from pressure, “I can do better” attitude or think it’s a necessity then it’s time to re-evaluate because we can’t make childhood magical, it’s is inherently Magical!