Why Can't We Let Our Kids Just Be?

“But what’s wrong with just being at home and letting them play?”

Since my three children were tiny, my mum’s words have been ringing in my ears.

She would say this usually as I’d just forced the baby out of a lovely lunchtime slumber, was tearing around trying to get ‘the bag’ ready and she was witnessing her daughter spinning out of control amid a sea of  nappies, nappy bags, bottles, back up bottles, wipes, back up wipes and four sets of spare clothes.

‘WHERE’S HER FAVOURITE MAKKA PAKKA?’, I’d scream, sweat pouring from my brow.

Usually baby and toddler would be screaming by now too, and I’d be on the verge of a breakdown. And for what? To get my two and a half year old to Monkey Music, why of course, where she’d never sit still in the circle, I’d feel mortified that all she wanted to do was trash everyone else’s ‘bags’ and the baby would cry. We didn’t last very long.

I’m not dissing such activities at all, don’t get me wrong. They saved me at this early sleep deprived stage, when I just needed to get out of the house before I smashed the Ninky Nonk into tiny pieces. 

Though I get my dear mother’s point. Why put yourself through this added harassment, when you could stay at home and let little people play with their toys and just be?

But I needed it back then. I needed to see other mums, whether I actually had a proper conversation with them or not. I don’t personally think the music side of it did much for my child, but a brief exchange on whether anyone else fancied Cbeebies’ Andy AND Sid (I know, I’m greedy) would do me just fine, and keep my sanity intact.

Now the little people are older, activities have gone up a gear. Your bog standard soft play doesn’t cut it anymore. There’s Go Ape, climbing walls, dry ski slopes…who’s to say we won’t be seduced by sky diving and helicopter rides once the local zoo has served its purpose? And all at vast expense.

But who is it for? Them or us?

I find myself spending a week’s earnings on a trip to Chessington World of Adventures, determined they’ll have the…

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