As a mother of two children, with a background in school counseling, I find myself emerged in the world of everything KIDS! Yet, being in my mid 30's I often feel like I just got done being a kid. I suppose I just have a really good memory of it. I remember long days at the local park, climbing the play structures and swinging so high my stomach would flip. There was a spurt in Elementary school where I would pack my high-tops for recess so I could play basketball with the boys, that was of course on the days that I wasn't practicing cheerleading cheers with my girly friends by the Cheese playgroundclimber. I fondly remember the warm summer days where after a quick lunch I would hop on my bike and meet my neighborhood friends, knowing I wouldn't be home until dinner, and even after dinner would be returning outdoors for some tag in the park, until the street lights came on and it was time for a much needed bath and bed.
Now my days are filled with guiding, loving (and lets be honest) entertaining an almost 5 and 1 year old. I am enjoying their need for me to direct them in the appropriate direction for where and how to spend their day of active play, but I secretly look forward to the days where they will get up early in the morning and be ready to spend their energy in the great outdoors ALL day, simply checking in with me or dad, to tell us where they are headed next or who is headed over to play. I will encourage them to explore, imagine, and create many games, play pretend, and conquer the climbing and swinging while they are at it.
In reality though, I worry (because that's what mom's do best) about the amount of connectivity to the outdoors and play that they will have. I know as a parent it is my job to limit screen time and technology so that they can consume the outdoors and unstructured play, but I also know it is hard to do.* So this is my public admission or vow. I will not let the great strides in technology and the easy access of it, take over my children's childhood. We will take advantage of the beautiful days and get out there and PLAY. We will visit playgrounds we have never been to. We will cool off at the city's splash pads. We will plant and tend to a garden. We will visit the animals at the zoo. We will tour the local farms. We will shop the outdoor farmers market. And we will do it because it helps us grow, socialize, imagine, create and learn. And also, because mom said. ;)
*It should be noted, my kids will still have the headphones and ipad out when you see us at the local restaurant. And your welcome in advance, because you too will get to enjoy your dinner.