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positive silence!

(63 Posts)
weedswoman Mon 09-May-11 15:07:35

Am I alone in wondering how my grand children will learn to like their own company. Everything is now so busy and every minute filled with things to do, to play, to listen to, to watch, they never have to access their own company and find their own way to play. Is there anyone who would like to join a discussion about the positive aspects of time on your own?

mollie Mon 09-May-11 17:11:49

I'm a fan of time of my own and never mind being the moment I'm missing it because OH has been off work since the end of February and we've been together more or less 24/7 ever since... we've both taken over a spare bedroom as our individual 'dens' but I still feel I need a totally empty house to be able to concentrate on some of my favourite hobbies and I'm still waiting for that to happen! I hope he'll be going back to work soon!!! :0

outnumbered Mon 09-May-11 18:04:07

grin @ mollie

babyjack Mon 09-May-11 18:11:24

I do find that parents are under a lot of pressure to entertain or educate their children from an early age from baby massage, soccer tots, sing and sign the list is endless! My grandson is happy to play make believe games with his cars, animal farm etc but I have heard my daughter say she feels guilty if they have had a stay at home day.
Sadly people will make money out of most things and children and parents and not exempt. I think there are lots of good activities out there but I agree learning to enjoy your own company is a really good skill to have.

mollie Mon 09-May-11 18:33:30

My husband's neice has an exhausting schedule for her two children (both under 8) that seems to cost a fortune and as far as I can see it's only to be seen to be doing 'the best' for their kids. I wonder if the kids were asked? Probably not.

Thankfully, mine were never big joiners of clubs or classes (not that there were many options back then) and were happy to play locally with friends or at home...just thinking about all that organisation and constant activity exhausts me!!!

supernana Tue 10-May-11 14:01:43

I was a child in 1940s. No television, first bike (without gears) at eleven, pair of sandals for summer and sturdy lace-ups for winter. Played with group of friends building dens, being cowboys and indians, members of the "secret five" club and so much more. Apart from drawing books and crayons and a favourite doll, I had very few toys, treats or outings. YET, I was hardly ever bored and certainly not lacking plenty of joy. As a child, like many of my friends, I was free to enjoy simple child-like pleasures. Today, children are all too often bullied by non-stop pressure to "have" the latest gizmo or whatever. I am so thankful that I grew up way back when, and although my seven darling grandchildren are the finest that I could wish for, I would, for all the world, not wish to swap places... smile

Pandemonia Tue 10-May-11 14:22:39

I agree that some children are over-occupied but actually, this condition applied when my sons (now 29 and 28) were small too. They had several friends who were rarely able to enjoy a spontaneous activity of the "come round for tea today?" variety because their parents needed to consult a complex appointments diary first. I'm a great believer in children having structure and things to do but it's a shame when this gets taken to extremes that deny them the simpler pleasures of childhood.

Fortunately, my son and DIL share this view and my granddaughter will, I hope, enjoy the best of both worlds - interesting things to do as well as time to just be herself with friends.

nanapippa Tue 10-May-11 15:03:37

Life changes, we may have had a much simpler, quieter life but just think how our childhood would have looked to the children of biblical times. They too would have said that we were spoilt and had far too much. The Mums today do what is the norm for their kids, and the children would be "different" from the others if they didn't, as would we would have done if we had dressed in robes etc. Who can say if what they do is right or wrong. Just because it is different it doesn't make it wrong. They have fantastic opportunities which I would have loved as a child. The only reason I didn't miss these things is because they were not available to me. It's called progress....

mollie Tue 10-May-11 19:05:35

Definately agree that there are far more opportunities FOR EVERYONE these days...but I do think that some people like to make life more complicated and over-organised than necessary...but then I'm a simple soul who can sit and idle the hours away without effort at all grin

Doris Tue 10-May-11 22:02:33

I am in total agreement that children should learn to like their own company. As a Grandma of 62 my childhood was swimming, acrobatics and Brownies and most importantt of all, as an only child (NOT spoilt I might add) I learned how to entertain myself which has paid off as an adult. I fortunately have a DIL (30) who is bringing up my GD in the same way and that means that we agree practically on everything when dealing with my GD. She's an active child but when playing on her own I am more than happy to leave her - that's when imagination comes into play and of course listening to the little conversations that go on can be an enlightening experience into their own domestic world - Mums take note!

lionlilac Wed 11-May-11 09:41:31

Do you know I still miss the magic that we created in our own little worlds when we were young. Hides/streams/swinging from ropes and of course I think all of us played being the beautiful princess having to be rescued.
Anything or everything was possible in our own innocent heads.
Now worrying of the constant safety of our children, it is all to easy to place them in front of a screen where no imagination is really necessary.

Joan Wed 11-May-11 09:43:45

Yes, I agree that children often have too many organised after school, activities, and they need time on their own, or just time playing out with other children without adults bothering them.

It is of the utmost importance that they get a chance to use and develop their imagination. My son teaches 15 to 18 year olds at a local high school and says that the presence or absence of imagination makes all the world of difference to their character. Without imagination they can have no empathy, for instance, which leads to bullying and anti-social behaviour.

I have seen parents take their school age children to a different activity every day. This is insane. It is bad for the parents and bad for the children.

Parents should realise they are just that - parents. They are in charge of the children, not their entertainment directors.

supernana Wed 11-May-11 11:18:41

I agree. As a child, I made my own magic...still am happy to do so. Television, computer games, non-stop pressure to go and get the latest gizmo, seems to be robbing our grandchildren of so much [especially INNOCENCE] Best wishes.

Heather Wed 11-May-11 11:27:11

I agree with you weedswoman but that's another little pleasure for me ... when I play with my little angel it's without the television on and I may suggest something but then allow her to direct us. We have wonderful make believe play ... going to the doctor (a current favourite, I've never worn so many bandages in my life!!!), the hairdresser (ditto with hair clips!!), the cafe or princesses - where I get to wear sparkly beads and tiaras all over again. I'm not so sure who enjoys it more! We also like to re-enact story books like 3 billy goats gruff, goldilocks, oh lots of them!

I think we can add that dimension to our grand-childrens' life ... and have fun doing so!

Livey Wed 11-May-11 11:58:46

lionlilac, you are right. Parents put the children in front of the television as there is so much danger outside for them now. I can remember walking fields into woods to collect bluebells for my mother, that is something that a child cannot enjoy now. a) No bluebells b) There could be undesirables. But on the other hand - Do parents put the television on to entertain the children so they don't have to ??

Jangran Wed 11-May-11 12:26:11

There are several points here.

First, over-organised time - exhausting for both parent and child, but at the same time a lovely opportunity to enable a child to find out what they are good at when they are best able to develop their talents.
My granddaughter is super-flexible and is thoroughly enjoying gym club and ballet lessons, whilst one of my grandsons has a slight joint problem that is being overcome by his jujitsu lessons (which also compensate for the fact that he is useless at ball games).

Second, overindulgence. As far as I can see it makes little difference. All of my grandchildren get far more than they need or even want, and I am a culprit as much as anyone. But what do they enjoy most? They like a) attention and b) drawing/colouring/just playing.

Third, television/video games and so on - quite pernicious. One of my daughter's husbands has the tele on automatically, and the children are constantly distracted from anything else - not that they are actually watching, but the screen draws their eyes (mine too, as far as that goes). The other daughter uses television less, but her children have those awful brain trainers - it is difficult to get them to attend to anything else, or do anything else. Recently younger boy howled for an hour or so because his mother wouldn't let him take the thing in the car when he was being taken to a really good theme park for a treat.

supernana Wed 11-May-11 13:26:50

Jangran, your comments make perfect sense. Paragraph two sums up my thoughts precisely. When I'm with my eldest grandchild [22] I let her talk to her heart's content about her dreams and aspirations and when with the youngest [13 months] we go for long walks in the park, scrabble around on the floor together, "look at" books and "sing" to each other...not a penny needs to be spent because he loves my companionship as much as I love

mollie Wed 11-May-11 13:49:07

I truly dislike having the TV on for background noise - my son and his partner have theirs on all the time and it's so distracting...I was horrified to hear them say that the baby (3 months old) love it!!! That's the only complaint I can make about them as parents...

I am looking forward to playing all those silly games with my grandchild and she can bury me in as many bandages as she likes! I remember playing hairdressers with my great-aunt who was very patient...

dorsetpennt Wed 11-May-11 21:10:08

My two are now in their 30's and I remember they had friends with loads of activities - piano, swimming, karate, trumpet etc etc. As a divorced Mother that was out of the question - so swimming for safety sake as we live by the sea, cubs,brownies,scout and guides. I've discussed with my son, now a parent, and he said they loved Saturday mornings just veging out watching 'Going Live' on Satuday mornings. They had friends whose every hour was taken up with something so they could never entertain themselves. Mine could for hours. His wife was the same and have said they don't want their children to be over'stimulated'

nanny1 Wed 11-May-11 22:21:56

This is an interesting article - worth a read and thought provoking:

Divawithattitude Thu 12-May-11 15:45:06

One of the best gifts I was able to give to my children was a love of reading. Now I see my son reading to his small son who is just a year old and I know that will carry on into the next generation.

I often go into houses where there is not a book in sight!

supernana Thu 12-May-11 18:25:06

Books are such a treasure. I have kept all my youngest son's childhood books [he's now 37] and his son, my youngest grandchild who is thirteen months old, has inherited his daddy's collection. Whenever I visit my grandchild it makes me feel warm inside when he sits upon my knee and pretends to read a story that I read to his daddy many years ago.

babyjack Sat 14-May-11 14:41:44

Yes I agree, I got my grandson a pop up Alice in Wonderland book from Amazon - he loves it - they used to be very expensive but now they are made in China they are very affordable!!!
I love reading to him, I think I will start a new thread asking which books people would recommend.

elderflower1 Sat 14-May-11 18:47:11

Interesting thread. I am a great believer in benign neglect and so is my daughter. SIL and grandad think my two year old gd needs entertaining every waking minute. When she is with me I leave her to play and keep in the background merely making sure she is safe. It is wonderful to see her emerging imagination and the way she replays everyday events with her toys. Every child needs time on their own to process all their new encounters with the world. She makes it very clear when she wants to be read a story, played with or to go to the park and then I am happy to oblige.

Leticia Sun 15-May-11 08:18:04

I am a great believer in benign neglect too-the best thing you can do for a DC. Every DC needs time to be bored-it forces them into using their imaginations.