When I was a Primary teacher in one of the renowned schools here in Pune, we used to ask children to write essays. The topics varied according to the grades such as My mother, My Father- for Grade 1, My School, My Teacher- For Grade 2 and so on. For Grade 4 we had given a topic, ‘How I spent my weekend?’ As I started reading I figured out that most of the children wrote about either going for a movie, dinner in a restaurant or in a Mall, which was the greatest attraction of the time. The another common activity they mentioned was playing with toys. As I discussed this with my co-teacher who taught the other class, she too had similar responses. At that time we did not think anything further on that.
But today when I am writing a blog about Parenting and how to address children related issues; this incident came to my mind prominently. As children we were taken to the grocery shop, vegetable market, zoo which was in the heart of the city,( we were the fortunate Punekars), hill tops and parks where we could run and play and enjoy to our heart’s content. We also got to get some treats such as bhel, pani puri and occassionaly a kulfi or ice cream. Things started changing so fast in the last 2 decades that we did not even notice the changes in the children’s world that is impacting not only their lives at this moment but is going to have a huge impact on the society at large.
Parents find it better to take children to Malls over weekends for various reasons-
- The latest attraction and buzz
- Safe environment
- The whole family gets to do activities of their interests
- Comfortable environment
- Engaging displays
- Play zones for kids
- Food courts
- Discount offers
- Variety of products to select from
Coming to the point of view from building childhood- do these experiences really add any value to the child’s knowledge, value to the child’s time, his self-development, social and cognitive development? And at what cost?
Instead if children get an opportunity to do activities where they can get real life experiences and hands on activities to do, they will become more productive and smart. They will become more responsible as adults and have the right kind of maturity per age. The practical knowledge that they gain will make them confident individuals. This will all result into a society of responsible and sensible citizens. We will get to see a disciplined and well-behaved society, which will be in harmony.
What are the weekend activities we can currently do with kids-
- Take them to historical places and initiate simple conversations about history- historical characters, names of warriors, places, etc
- Join activity clubs which cater to theme based activities over weekends
- Kids cooking activity such as involving kids for Sunday b’fast/dinner
- Reading night play date. Involving your child’s friends to bring a story book to read and have activities build around
- Engage children in some home gardening activities
- Take children for field trips to the vegetable market, dentist, art studio
Time to bring awareness amongst the adults and act accordingly to save the coming generation and generations there after.