Let Kids Be Kids

I appreciated my friend's recent post on the over-emphasis on over-stimulation of kids at an early age. It's a core value of Amy's and my approach to parenthood: let kids be kids. Add the fact that Aaron and Jada are in school all day and all week, and we haven't felt too compelled to pile on the activities: so far, no sports teams, no music lessons, no summer camps. (I admit it may also be my innate cheapness that causes me to say, "the best things in life are free.")

Not that we park them in front of the TV all weekend; far from it. But, though we keep a busy social schedule, we try to be pretty low-key about it. Trips to the zoo, the children's museum, or downtown are intended to be experiential, not high-pressure. We are ever trying to instruct our kids in terms of discipline and education, especially given their delays and issues; but we do so with pretty soft gloves, and at a pace that is not rushed or pressured. And, a lot of times, stuffing the kids with activities and resources is just a game of parental "keeping up with the Joneses," and I just don't have the horses to want to get into that, so we tend to honor the other extreme: lots of time "off the grid," no parental helicopters in sight.

It takes a lot for this Type A, Ivy League-educated parent to rein in all of my wanting to infuse my kids with the same ambition and drive and hyper-competitiveness. But then I realize my kids are just 5 and 3, and that there's something precious about being able to be 5 and 3, and be a kid, and not have a care in the world, and discover things for the first time, and delight in the wonder and innocence of it all. So we let them be kids. And we get to experience some of that preciousness and discovery and delight and wonder for ourselves, which is, I think, good for our souls.

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