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Let’s Let Kids Be Kids

By Erin Jones

Whether seemingly simple after-school activities, sports, multiple trips to visit local historical sites, movies everyone wants to see, mall outings, you name it, sometimes the schedule for my kids just goes on and on.

So recently, I took a conscious step back and asked myself, “Was it like this when I was younger and growing up? Did I have time to just be a kid?” The answer to the first question is a resounding no, while the answer to the second is a resounding yes.

Yes, my parents involved me in various activities, but I never felt overwhelmed with them. I have wonderful memories of spending days and nights just playing with my neighborhood friends, having last minute sleepovers, backyard swings and shenanigans, and just running around and making up games. In my childhood, we seized every single moment of every single day until it was time for dinner. So, for me it was time to rethink and react, especially when spontaneity strikes.

I recently let my kids go at it in the mud during a rainy Sunday.

Guess what? When I told them to “go for it” they had the best time making buckets of mud, dumping it on their heads, throwing mud balls at each other, and in turn, making great memories for them and for me. It was awesome!

Our kids need time to be kids! Let’s give ourselves a break from the constant scheduling and entertainment morning till night. I worry this stresses children out whether they (or their parents) realize it or not. All of us parents out there feeling the pressure and the stress can simply let go a little bit each week and make time for our kids to be just that: kids. Those imaginative, impressionable young brains need time to breathe, just as ours do.

So, let them splash in the puddles, dance in the rain, get dirty during mud fights, have impromptu dance parties, make forts in the house—because before you know it, they’ll be all grown up and not your little ones anymore. I sincerely want my kids to rejoice in the memories of having the time to be themselves, to be kids. As many of us yearning for the simpler times of our own childhood—including myself—know, there is plenty of time ahead for them to have the pressures and responsibilities of an adult.