My children are growing up so fast. As I type, my teenage daughter is in the kitchen cooking herself an English breakfast and my son has been playing an online game with one of his friends, connected both on the games console and also by phone as they speak to each other as they play. These days you don’t have to even be in the same room to socialise! It doesn’t seem that long since he was a toddler who’d go along with whatever we wanted to do and she was into High School Musical, singing the songs and dressing in the branded merch as you do at 7, 8 or 9 years old. Then age 10 hits and they are suddenly a tween and then an actual teen – these days she’d never go near anything Disney related and he wants to be a ‘YouTuber’.
After years upon years of looking out for their every move to keep them safe and having a 360 degree awareness of exactly who is where and what they are up to, I’ve had to force myself to stay back and fine tune that awareness so that I know what is going on and can probably prevent a mistake before it occurs, but actually allow whatever it is to happen, so they learn things for themselves. It is easier with the second child than the first, I find. It felt weird several years ago having my eldest boil a kettle and make a cup of tea (I firmly believe that they should all know how to make mum a cup of tea, even if they don’t drink it themselves!) But now my youngest also makes tea when I ask. It’s only fair that they both have to do these things. They both also strip and remake their beds when I ask them to. These practical things are not necessarily fun to do but they are a step toward independence which is the overall aim, that and lots of fun times together.
Balanced in with the ‘teaching them life skills’ part of being together, I also like to make sure that they have lots of happy times with us as parents. We’ve just come back from a music festival where we danced the weekend away – Camp Bestival was very muddy this year, a change from previous years, but also very memorable! We also have other plans for the rest of the summer that involve us spending time together, relaxing and having new experiences before the routine of school and work starts again in September.
Having lots of different experiences is a great way to help build their confidence and expand their comfort zones. Seeing how other people live and trying new things works to expand their view of the world, realise that they are not the only ones in it and helps them develop social awareness. Giving them the chance to be responsible and lead, helps them strengthen their inner sense of worth and teaches them to try to see things from alternative viewpoints – a flexible and considerate mind is a wonderful thing to have.
We only get about 900 weeks of childhood with our children. Doesn’t seem that long does it? So with this blog post I’m signing off for the rest of the summer and spending that time with my kids. There’s plenty of time to write new blog posts when they are back at school in September, and if all the fun I plan to have over the next few weeks works out, then I’ll have plenty to write about!
Have a great summer everyone and see you in September!