Your children's future memories of how and where they played during childhood will be different from your own memories of where and how you played as a child. Think for a moment about where and how you played as a toddler or preschooler. Inside? Outside? Off your property? Where there any adults in charge present?
Now, to complete the picture of memories of play ask your mother or your father where and how they played and whether adults were watching over, warning of dangers, etc. If you can, reach back to a relative who remembers this: "We were out all day. But we knew we had to be home when the street lights came on."
Now we've completed the picture of how much play has changed through generations.
Sure, playgrounds are now brightly painted and super-safe. We might assume this shows progress over the old, dangerous, stepping-on-a-rusty-nail days. In Raymond Parenting discussion classes I remember seeing some parents shudder as I suggested that a real childhood full of real free play will include slivers, skinned knees and a few bruises. These same parents revealed that when their toddler had a bruise on the head, they enter their playgroup ready to over-explain how it happened, etc., so as not to be seen as negligent.
Now I'd like your help. In the comments, please describe your own childhood play memories, and if you can, your mother's or aunts’? And describe if you can what you believe your child's play memories will be, years from now.
I'm including an article from the New York Times about "radical play" playgrounds popping up around the country (US). Parents are not allowed in but can sit around the outside with other parents. The theory this is promoting, as you'll read, is that kids need to experience more risky play in order to find their balance and learn to keep themselves safe as they grow.
As always, feel free to take advantage of Kitty’s expertise by booking your first conversation today and taking your first step to peaceful parenting and quieter nights.