How does Childhood now Compare to 50 Years Ago?

*This is a collaborative post

I look back to my childhood and it was so different to the childhood my children are currently living but can you imagine your children having the childhood that their grandparents had?

A recent study by McCarthy and Stone asked people aged 60 and over what they enjoyed as children and it’s made me think just how different childhood has become. Some of the top answers for people around London were making dens, playing hide and seek and collecting shells on the beach – things that our children still love to do today.

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Making Your Parents Proud

I was watching Dragons Den the other day and after securing a deal with the Dragons, one of the guys said how proud his Mum would be if she were still alive now and how proud his Dad would be too. It got me thinking about how people strive for such a simple thing in life – to make their parents proud of them.

This simple phrase on TV got me thinking about my life and about all the times in my life when I could have made my parents proud. I don’t remember when I was young ever being told that my parents were proud of me. There were school plays, school tests, sports days and all those usual things and I just don’t ever remember anyone saying to me that they felt proud. It just didn’t happen – or it did but didn’t stick in my memory bank.

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How Would Your Children Answer These 20 Questions?

*This is a collaborative post

I have seen so many people sharing interview style posts of twenty questions for their children and I just had to get involved! I’ve never interviewed the children before and Little Man wasn’t interested in participating this time either, but I printed off this handy 20 questions to ask your children worksheet from Shepherds Friendly to go through with LP.

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The Headache of Adverts on Children’s TV

As a family we spend a lot of time watching Netflix now – our favourite shows – on demand, just one button to press on the TV remote and just so much easier than watching anything else. But, every so often the children want to watch something that isn’t on Netflix or we think putting normal TV on will be a bit of variety for them and so we cave to their demands and stick it on for a while.

Within half an hour of the children watching normal TV they have the same demands. “I want that Mummy…”, “Can we ask Father Christmas for this Daddy…”. It’s constant and relentless and I didn’t understand why the children were so focused on material things until I sat and watched normal TV properly with them. It was as if they had swallowed an Argos catalogue.

But, a few minutes of TV watching later and I could see why the children were so fixated on the latest toys. In between each ten or fifteen minute show there were a few minutes of adverts and the majority of the adverts were about toys – all featuring their favourite characters, their favourite brands and things that were so familiar to them but things that they didn’t own. Things they immediately wanted.

I am well aware that LP and Little Man are incredibly fortunate with the amount of toys they get to review but we also have quite a high turnover of toys – reviewing them and then a few months later giving them to friends or the charity shop – only the most favoured ones are kept indefinitely. I don’t want the children to grow up spoilt and expecting things – they know that the toys we have are part of my job, they know a lot of other children don’t get everything they get and so they understand that we can’t keep everything that we’re sent, that other people might like and appreciate it instead.

The children also get pocket money and save it to then buy things with it and they always have two or three things to ask Father Christmas for – not huge lists but just a couple of things that they’d really love. But, adverts on TV make them want more. It makes that list of things they’d like get longer and longer and it makes them say they want things rather than they would like things. It’s all very me, me, me and want, want, want.

I don’t know whether it’s subliminal messaging or the music on the adverts but whatever it is turns the children into noisy, materialistic little people who have forgotten the value of things, have forgotten how much they already have and don’t appreciate that things need to be worked for or saved up to buy.

For me, adverts on children’s TV are a terrible thing. I work so hard to make the children understand that they can’t have everything that they would like the minute that they decide they want it. We work to make them understand the value of money, the concept of saving up for things and choosing wisely when they part with that money.

But then the adverts come on the TV and shatter everything the children have learnt and make them so blinkered that in that moment all they can see is that toy – and that is all that matters in life. In that moment they would swap their beloved cat for that toy and wouldn’t look back.

Those TV adverts are like drugs to a child and that is just another reason why we’ll be sticking with Netflix and moving away from commercial TV channels. A house without TV adverts is definitely a nicer one where the children are concerned.

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The Things You Realise You Can’t Remember

Through life it’s natural to forget things. You forget things to help you move on and deal with life, you forget things as they’re just not that important to remember and I firmly believe that you forget things when your head is just too full and there is something new to remember in it’s place.

But often you don’t know you’ve forgotten things until you realise you can’t remember them and this could be a few hours later, a month down the line or even years later when suddenly there’s a gap in your memory, a blank space and you wonder what once filled that void.

A few weeks ago LP and I were having a chat, as we always do, whilst I was brushing her hair in the morning, ready for school. I called her my pet names for her – something along the lines of ‘Little Pickle Poppet Socks’ and she asked whether that’s what my Mum called me when I was little.

I was taken aback for a moment. Not because of the random mention of my mother – as LP asks a lot about my family, where they are, who is who’s parents and what they’re all doing now. But, this was different. This was different because I just couldn’t remember.

You see, I have called LP ‘Pickle’ and variations of that since the day she was born and I can’t imagine a day when she won’t be my Little Pickle. Yet, if my parents had a pet name for me I have no memory of it.

I haven’t lived at home since just after my 17th Birthday and I haven’t had any close mother-daughter conversations since then either. That’s 15 years of not having a mother-daughter relationship and 15 years of my memories fading and the less important aspects slipping from my mind.

I realised after LP’s offhand comment that so much is written into pet names, little gestures and the hugs and things that we weave into day to day life. I constantly talk to the children, hold their hands, bend down to kiss them on the head and stroke their arms absentmindedly when we’re watching TV. We are such a close family and I hope, in years to come, that these are the things the children remember.

I hope that LP will always be our Little Pickle, that Little Man will always be just that and when they’re adults, with families of their own, they’ll remember being my Little Sausage or Poppet Socks, they’ll remember holding my hand and they’ll remember just how loved they were.

But more than that I hope that when they are all grown up, with their own children running around, that we will still be this close, and they will still feel just as loved as they are now.

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