From the month of March, our WhatsApp and facebook gets bombarded with summer camp, varieties of activities, various creative programs for kids and we, as parents start choosing from the catalogue. This year, for a change, we decided no summer camp and to send kids to native place (a small town in Tamilnadu) to their grandparents place. Packed few toys and couple of activity notebooks.
After couple of weeks, when we went to native place, we noticed that kids did not open their favourite toys that were packed from here, rather they had fun with neighbouring kids. My son who rides cycle with helmet and cautiously on driveway in apartment, was riding cycle on the muddy road, laughing and carefree. My daughter who hasn’t started learning to cycle, started pedalling along. We were wow’d. Their new friends (neighbouring kids from our town) and our kids played co-co, kabaddi, stick cricket, goli and when they have to take rest, they invent new games with cards, they collected dried neem leaves and stems and created some game. And when it was too hot, they started drawing a home in front open corridor, drawing every room. They took small little utensils from kitchen and filled with 2 spoons of rice, sugar, dhal etc. Mommies gave few vegetables like carrot, tomoato, cabbage. So, the kids were enacting kitchen play, cooking, and eating those little dish they prepared. They would come running with excitement to us, we would slurp that 2 rice mixed with sugar and water 😀
We saw a different level of craze, fun and excitement in our children there. It was very hot summer, the facilities we have given them in city life was missing definitely. Still kids loved it there at native place. Being with grandparents and being away from parenting rules is one of the reasons 🙂 Apart from that, we (me and my husband) were wondering why are they not getting the same excitement in Bangalore, in our home.
While we returned, we found kid’s bedroom with every possible activity, manual on how to play, boxes and bundles categorized. We were confused for a while, we both spoke and kept thinking. We had the answer in the fact. Kids never said “it was boring” in native place (while they actually had less number of toys there). Ouch! That’s a hard fact for any ‘modern’ parent like us to accept. We spend a lot and buy such good toys and finally how can we accept that we stop our kids from being creative.
So here is a little detail. Our brain has two parts, left brain takes is incharge of logics, theories, standard data while right brain is incharge of creativity, ideas, innovation. Our education system earlier focused on left brain way of thinking, while now they are shifting to balance between linear and creative thinking methods. By nature and by biology, kids have lots of right brain harmones highly active. That is why, children think different, they ask a lot of questions and they keep trying new things.
Example : We cut few cardboard boxes and asked our kids to make ABCD basic puzzles, they did a bingo good job. This will be broken in a week, and they would think of new, maybe upgraded idea after. But, the house will be messy, there has to be cleaning and we need to sit and accompany them as they make these. What is the better option for us, as a parent ? To order an ABCD puzzle for Rs 200 online and kids will fix it , again keep it inside the box, again play , again put it inside. That is when they get bored. Now, the scary part here about parents is ” WE CAN AFFORD TO BUY THESE TOYS” ! That is the main problem. We have less time and very little patience to allow them to build right from scratch and facilitate them to be creative. But, we have technology in hand, apps to order Whatever toys are in market.
That is the marketing mantra for all gaming companies and toy shops. Those natural tree climbing games did involve getting hurt in knees. Yet, we all climbed, learnt and survived. Today, we pay Rs 500 per hour for a climbing zone or play area , kids wear all safety accessories, and every climb they do, we stand around and clap. Take a little pause and think – are they really learning to climb ? Which of the below is actual childhood ? Which enable kids to be more creative ?
Today’s parenting brains are tuned this way by products and marketing. While they baby is in womb and every stage, we get to read about buying best products and giving them safe environment, what toys will enhance their growth, what games we can buy to enhance their creativity. And the metro life, our environment in a city life is very much making us buy these products. But, dear parents – think again and answer to yourself – do you think, you have been buying too much, what is wanted ? Do you think, you keep your child busy and leaves him with no time to think of new ideas? If so, here are few ideas to try out –
- STOP buying toys for next two months and see the positive effect !
- GIVE a space in the house, which is their zone – they can make new toys, make it messy, but they have to clean, and arrange – it is totally their zone. Remember, keeping it clean is according to their version, not ours.
- CHOOSE one board game and one or two toys with upto 5 books and a packet of crayons / sketch. Let this be only material for them to play.
- DO NOT BUY DIY products – Now the next big mistake is, once we understand about enabling their creativity, we start buying those products also! Thermocoal balls, empty tins, décor items etc. Please do not escape one trap and fall into another.
- Let your kids ASK for stuffs – “mom, I need some spoons , some cardboards, some colour pencils, bottles” – let them think of what to build and think of materials and ask u. TELL THEM TO FIND IT FROM THE HOUSE – do not give them instant answer.
- ENABLE them with normal home stuffs to play , instead of purchasing. Let them use their old water cup as pencil stand.
- AVOID concepts of birthday part gifts and return gifts – THIS is the worst monstrous idea that is destroying kid’s value system of celebration. While there is a friend’s birthday party, ask them what is special about the friend and let them make a gift or card. Let it be person oriented not focusing on the expensive gift we buy.
I personally as a parent from a city like Bangalore , living an apartment life – the above tips would be very challenging yet my heart says they are to do good for my children. If you agree too, then come on, join us and lets try to be the parents who do not stop our kids from being creative ! Cheers ! Happy Parenting!