Let’s face it, retro is cool. While fluorescent is a little scary, retro parenting definitely isn’t. If we are going to talk about healthy brain development in kids then parenting the way our parents did has some very positive results.
I know, I know, we don’t want to be our parents! But hear me out.
We live in a time when children are bubble wrapped so tightly they don’t know how to bend down to tie their own shoes by the age of eight, and for the first time since World War II, children are less likely to live as long as their parents fall. tempo. obesity-related health risks. The more we look at children today, the more reasons there are to choose some parenting tools from our parents.
I’m not saying we need to put on our house coats and smoke some mint while watching soap and not noticing that the kids just started a fire in the barn. What I’m saying is that we need to allow our children more free play.
Basically, “free play” is a fancy way of referring to the unstructured, unscripted, unscheduled play we used to do as kids. The cool part is that free play is an evolutionary tool that has crossed thousands of years with the human brain and is a natural and healthy way for a child’s brain to map neural pathways and build plasticity. (Have you noticed how many baby animals are playing?)
Five ways parenting like your parents can help raise happy, healthy kids:
1). Push Your Child Outdoors
Seriously, throw those hooligans outside. You don’t have to force them to play there until dinner time rolls around, but getting them to play outside for an hour a day reaps a variety of health benefits.
Currently, the majority of North American children do not get enough outdoor play to reap the health benefits that include a reduced risk of: obesity; depression; worry; emphasize; and attention problems. And believe it or not, kids who play outdoors have higher self-esteem.
2). Encourage Independence
Encourage your kids to go to the park alone or with friends, walk to the post or to the local store. Encourage them to count their coins in the shop even if it takes longer. By letting them be independent it creates a feeling of accomplishment which, in turn, boosts their confidence.
By the way, did you know child abduction has been going on since we were kids? That’s right, despite what we may be told, the world is actually a safer place.
3). Structure Their Playtime
Do your kids have a day off in the week where they don’t have anything scheduled like games, or lessons, or playdates and they can build their own play as they see fit?
To illustrate the importance of unstructured play, guess who were the better engineers—the kids who grew up on a farm or the kids who took extra math lessons after school? Those are farm kids. The reason is, for years, they have trained their brains to find creative solutions to the problems they face on the farm. They have learned that playing around with a problem often results in innovative solutions. So while we might think “random” play pays off, it does.
4). Unplug Your Child
There are some scary statistics out there about the negative effects of watching TV and playing video games on a child’s development. Research has uncovered everything from how television and video games can wire a child’s brain to expect stimulation and change every 30-120 seconds, to how increased TV viewing during toddlerhood can lead to increased bullying-type behavior during the middle school years.
We may fool ourselves into thinking that our kids need time out in front of the TV, and that video games are real play, but the fact is free play is real down time for kids. Beading necklaces, stacking blocks, drawing pictures, or following ants in their search for food are downtime. It is then that children get the opportunity to listen to their hearts and minds and find out who they are and what they need and change their play to suit their needs, imagination and desires.
5). Let Them Lead Playtime
One of the reasons children play is to solve their own problems and problems and to gain a better understanding of their world. While it would be fun to have mini-adults running around the house, they are far from mature. Children are like little balls of clay that are imprinted wherever they roll. Every day forms a child.
The right way to let children grow up in a happy and healthy way is to let them write and lead their own games without adult interference. Yes, it’s healthy for your daughter to let those Barbies talk bad to each other. And yes, it’s healthy for your son to live rough with his little brother. Children naturally know what they need, how to solve their problems through play, and will naturally direct their play to achieve it.
When it comes to happy, healthy childhoods and healthy brain development, the most important thing is to play and let kids choose their own adventures. Here are five ways I tried to parent the way my parents did… what about you? If you were to do one thing like your parents when it comes to parenting, what would you do?
Image Credit : ParentDish