As a parent, I always try to have a foolproof routine for my kids. From waking them up in the morning to tucking them in at night, I have a schedule for everything. Over time, with a bit of tweaking here and there, I even managed to fit in some time for myself. I thought I was winning at this parenting game.
In retrospect, I liked to think that I had all my bases covered, but there was one thing that I forgot to include in my routine, and it was a big one: fueling my child’s passion.
We are more prone to falling into the trap of adopting tips and tricks that make sense without really questioning the entire pros and cons associated, for instance, creating a routine we think is best for our kids. Seems so basic, right? Being fed this mantra that “kids thrive when routines are in place and they know what is expected out of the day makes children less anxious”. So we do what we believe is good for them.
Clearly, children with routines are much calmer, but I decided to make full use of the fact and scheduled every aspect of their day, for their and my ease. In my eagerness, I forgot to take a step back and let them explore their own interests. But I didn’t learn it from the catalogue of parenting, I learnt it in the trenches.
Here’s how I came to this realisation that knocked my socks off, the hard way.
It was a rainy weekend, and we were all cooped up inside the house. With no access to screens due to some technical difficulties, I was worried about how I was going to keep my kids entertained. Let me tell you, keeping three kids amused can be a little tricky. For starters, there’s the age gap to contend with. Trying to find activities that appeal to a toddler, a grade-schooler, and a tween at the same time at the drop of a hat is no small feat.
Then there’s the issue of space. Three kids mean three times the toys, three times the mess, and three times the noise. It can feel like our house is bursting at the seams with activity, and finding a moment of peace and quiet is like searching for a needle in a haystack. And then the inevitable cycle of who is going to come to launch with complaints first. Trying to keep the peace between three little ones can sometimes feel like playing referee at a boxing match.
But, this is how my day rolled. At first, my kids were complaining about being bored and not having anything to do. They were used to being constantly entertained by screens or organised activities. But then, something amazing happened. Once they realised Mum’s bag of activities had run dry and they are left to their own devices, my children started to take charge of the situation. They started to create their own games, drawing, building structures with blocks, and even making a mini obstacle course using household items! I watched as my kids played, explored, and imagined.
It was a sight to behold. My children were lost in their own world, and I could see their creative juices flowing. They were creating activities that stimulated their interests and capabilities, and I was amazed at how they were able to keep themselves entertained for hours on end.
As the day came to an end, my kids were tired but happy. They had enjoyed themselves, and I had learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes, it’s not about filling our kids’ days with activities and events. Sometimes, it’s about letting them be bored and giving them the freedom to explore their imagination. We forget that our children have their uniqueness and passions that need space for nurturing. And that, my friend, comes by dropping all the safety nets and going full throttle into a room that is open to possibilities.
From that day on, I made sure to give my kids some unstructured time in their routine. I encouraged them to play, read, or draw, without any set agenda or schedule. I found that this helped them to be more creative and imaginative, and they were happier and more fulfilled.
It was a hard lesson to learn because it came with guilt and a hard realisation that I was unknowingly suffocating their creative world. It was a great shock to me, one that I will never forget. I now make sure that I create time in our routine for my child to just be. Getting bored or exploring their passions. Whether it’s painting, singing, or playing an instrument, I make sure that they have the time and resources they need to pursue their interests without me scheduling it for them.
It was a wake-up call for me, and I knew I had to make a change. That weekend, my kids taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of unstructured play and the power of boredom to spark creativity.
In conclusion, my journey as a parent is filled with ups and downs. The lesson I learned from forgetting to fuel my child’s passion was a valuable one. It reminded me that parenting is not about perfection but rather about learning, growing, and adapting. And that, my friends, is the beauty of parenting! It is not a one-way street rather two way where both parties stand to learn from each other.
I learnt that, as a parent, I must be willing to embrace the unexpected and see the world through the eye of our little one. We may think we have all the answers, but sometimes the most valuable lessons come from the smallest and the most unexpected teachers.
After all, the best way to raise a child is to let them teach us how to be better humans. As the saying goes, “We don’t inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
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