Wednesday, 23 January 2013

101 Things Children Should Do Growing Up.

Of late, we have been hearing and reading about how parents lament not having enough time with the children.. parents both work.. children have never-ending homework.. children have to prepare for exam.. uhh where to bring the brats to.. then there is also the part where some parents don't know what to do to spend time with them.. 

The rat race is always going to be there. Yes, some of us opt out of it to maintain sanity. Those already in it and those who want it, strive to the end in blood, sweat and tears. Then there's a handful of us who want that balance. 

Time with children MUST be time WITH children. Put aside that iPad. Stop farming those FB everythings. Pinch yourself each time you wanna reach for your smartphone when it is not even ringing. YES, siree.. time with children which many claim is already insufficient in our supposedly fast-paced lifestyle, should not be shared with inane dailies. Especially not with gadgets.

While we are seemingly fixated over those checks in our children's academic pursuits, we may have forgotten that one important checklist that reminds us to be the parents for our children. If you have forgotten, do not worry for I found one such checklist! Where? At the library one fine afternoon... 

As I am now typing out some of the contents of this book to share with all of you, it brings a smile to my face. An in-your-face book that brings you places called memories. It can also bring you to your PC albums.. containing photographs of what you USED TO do WITH the children. Those pretty snapshots never saw the light of day.. for all they do is rot (or not?) or hide, in some form of electronic gadget/tool. Perhaps, these days for some of us, there's a bit much on what we do FOR the children...either as a trade off for doing well in school or because they have been good.

Spending time with our children should ideally be because we WANT to be with our family. Not just to do something that makes THEM happy.. A family unit is only complete if everyone is happy. 

If you are keen to try working on a balance being a swell parent, check out the checklist in this book. If you are struggling or if you wish to find out more on some of the fun things children should get to do... This book may have your answer. 

But before you do that, go through this checklist putting yourself as the kid. Did you get to do half the things they shared in this book? If yes.. congratulations, for like myself, you too had an awesome childhood. If not, it is never too late to relive your childhood with your children. 

Everyone has dreams. Every adult. Every kid.
Just reading the first 12 on the Checklist-101 bring back a plethora of memories and emotions from my own yesteryears swept over me.

Going on to #3... Now... Other than a girl's first love, how many dads bring their daughters to see the stars in the still of the night? Mine did. He even followed up the following day with some constellation information in our very thick and concise Factfinder book, for we cannot afford a whole bookcase of encyclopedias.

#4 had me a wee overwhelmed, for my Daddie did this too.. not just for my brothers and I but for my children as well. A request for playing "camping" will entice him to play up a storm with the kiddies... yes, with torchlight, spooky sounds and stories, glow in the dark skeleton gloves.. sigh.. brings back so much memories..

I remember growing up thinking how great it would be if we could have a tree house. I read these "tree house" concept in books and visualized it as a child. I thought it sufficed that my Daddie was those fun dads who was open to all sorts of play. Yes, even dramatic play. Though impossible to build one indoors, Daddie made camping indoors come to life I can still remember till today.

I did this with my girls in our hotel room in Phuket! So happy to see this on the checklist. We had wrinkly fun in our upgraded hotel room's bathtub in Phuket called Deevana.

I emptied ALL the complimentary shower foams and shampoo bottles and simply let the bubbles overflow the bathroom. We made bubble creatures on one another's hair while we soak in the fragrance from all those soap bubbles. Aaaahhhh... Man, I need a holiday...

As I scrutinized the checklist, I must've chuckled on and off or at least have had my lips pursed in quiet happiness looking back at the kinda childhood I had as a child. It was a swell childhood. I had a swell childhood.

I was smiling to myself having read with point #36. I recall having done a couple of walk-a-thons myself with Daddie while I growing up and I am happy the girls were able to participate in a few as well.

With our schools and faith organizations organizing such events, I find these are awesome opportunities to share with our  children... that there are many different ways we can all play a part in reaching out to the less fortunate and how our nurturing such empathy helps shape sound character for our next generation. 

We have sold cookies, with help from gramma of course.. :) toys plus lotsa new stuff the kiddies never even used, to raise money for charity. The proceeds went to one of the orphanages in Singapore which they visited as a finale & closure for the charity yard sale. The kiddies learnt more about the children who were placed there and why... what they do there and how they go about their day. The children were given time to reflect and share their thoughts.. My children appreciated the fact that they honestly had so much more in their lifetime than some of these children.

I don't know about anyone else but I have a small treasure box where I keep memories of my younger days. Guess what's my soft toy?

Hubs bought a nice soft yellow ducky for chubs and after reading this, I sure heck would keep it in his own treasure box. 

Growing up, I have always imagined myself having a tree house. I only got to read about them in books. I thought it would be a nice  private space for me to find reprieve from the parents or when I just want some me time. With modern technology, I can just google and find a fab collection of images on tree houses, who built them and where these tree houses are. This one I found had a cool slide  from the upper floor. Though my dreams can't exactly come through... I mean like seriously, how cool is this?
Now, whoever said treehouses must be at the top of a tree. It can be at the bottom too like the one here. A tree house concept  within the patio area. Ingenious. I would love to have a space like this... Tree houses are like free club houses, where imagination creates creativity.. where children get lost in play. These days well... they have the country club memberships for these kinds of things.

As I reminisced on my personal memories, I was also brought back to when DD1 was little, hubs bought her this dramatic-play-tent as her birthday present. 

Many awesome hours were spent role-playing, giggling, sweating (yes it is hot inside) and it was one of those moments where teachable moments just didn't seem to cease. DD1 learnt soooo much with this prezzie form early math, language (vocab expansion), simple entrepreneurial skills, dramatic play, (etc)! It was soo fun. 

Since we can never have even a yard or a tree house, we thought a tent house would be fun for our children. We found this themed-tent for DD1's 2nd birthday. We still have it actually! So last Dec, I took it out from our store and hubs offered to put it up nice and straight so we could all play with our children. This time, all 4 of them. It was quite a sight all right! The house became abuzz with lotsa language, with counting, with pretend-play and role-play.. it was so much fun to watch. The children were doing postal work, selling fruits and vegetables, the shopkeeper counting the day's collections, handling fussy customers... the works. 

We may not be able to have everything in the world that money could buy but I am sure we can give our children our love and the most memorable childhood, one that they can hopefully remember for many years to come if only we remind ourselves that life ain't just about the rat race.

Like I usually say, the gift of love is spelt as T.I.M.E.

Work hard so play hard. The choice is yours to make. Quit whining about how children these days lack a childhood when you don't have time to offer them that gift of love. 

Give yourself and your children some balance in life. 

Regardless if your children are doing PSLE this year or not. No excuse.

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