letting kids be kids

Thursday, March 19, 2009

As I go over the paperwork for college scholarships, financial aid and summer camps I can’t help notice how tough it is to be a kid nowadays! I don’t remember having to have all these responsibilities as a child. Is it because I grew up in a third world country or has time changed? Or are we forcing adult responsibilities early on in their lives? Does that make them better adults or just stressed-out, overworked and grumpy individuals?

It’s end of March and the deadline for applying to most summer camps is closing in. My 13 year old wants to go to a sleep-away piano summer camp as a graduation present from his grandma. With the financial uncertainty I don’t know how one can afford to send their children to a summer sleep away camp or to any summer camp for that matter.

None of my children are into ball sports. The only physical activity they are passionate about is TaeKwon-do and gymnastics. But their main passion is music. My youngest son’s schedule is not as hectic as my 13-year old. Since my 13 year-old is going to high school next year, anything he does from now on will hopefully increase his chances in getting scholarships and recognition for college. Did I just say that? What happened to just focusing on the first day of high school. He’s not even in high school yet and we’re already projecting and planning activities that will be beneficial when he gets to college. And it’s not just me, I’ve been inundated with emails and flyers about the summer programs and scholarships since January!

Why can’t we let kids be kids? Why do they have to start school at the age of 2? Is competition really that stiff that we have to start cultivating the future of tomorrow by snatching away the childhood from the present?

What happened to letting children play unstructured games? What happened to unscheduled play dates? And what happened to just enjoying your summer – just being a kid? Sleep, eat, swim, go to the beach, play – have fun! Time goes by so fast that before you know it, your child will be an adult wishing he or she can be a child again!

Don’t you wish you can just stay in bed longer? But do you remember fighting with your mom to stay up late – as late as you can negotiate?
Don’t you wish someone else does thee driving? But do you remember the first few months when you first got your drivers license?
Don’t you wish you can just stay home and do nothing? But do you remember having to find any means possible toget out of the house and be part of the “real” world?

I think Peter Pan had it right! Why grow-up so fast?

So if one day, your child just wants to stay in bed;
Or take a nap;
Or have ice cream in the morning;
Or have cereal at nite;
Or just run around in the rain and laughing out loud –

It’s okay. Allow your children to enjoy childhood. Before you know it, they’ll be on their own – being responsible grown-ups.

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