Okay… let’s face it, the last couple of years parenting has been tough, to say the least.
We were forced into an unplanned whirlwind of home-schooling, working, entertaining, household admin, chores… All. At. Once! (well that’s what it felt like anyway). Fast-forward some months and I can see the ‘great divide’, new parenting styles seem to have emerged, leaving the generation of today falling part of two categories…the ‘Over-screened’ OR the ‘Over-scheduled’.
Let’s talk about the ‘Over-screened’ cohort.
Whether you were a fan or not, the home-schooling era put an enormous amount of pressure on families to take on the role of ‘teacher’ (no…none of us signed up for that during the I want to be a parent phase). Classes were set on devices, socialising was steered around devices and let’s be honest, entertainment was often taking centre stage via a device. We had no time to assess the impact, stop the addiction or provide a ‘balanced’ approach (no judgement… we can all relate!). Now, here we are, with children who consider screen time an essential daily need as opposed to a want. Parents who struggle daily with drawing children away from devices and when they do, the sheer arguments, anxiety and tantrums trying to break such habits.
How do we solve this? That’s where the next cohort comes in... the ‘Over-scheduled’.
Remember when we were only a few weeks into the soccer or netball season, swimming lessons were still on, you could go to the skatepark with friends, play cricket in the street, go to dance classes, art classes, music classes… then It. All. Stopped. Nothing, no face to face planned ‘extracurricular’ activities. (Here is the thing… in my house… with 3 boys… this was HELL!!... my children need to be ‘exercised’, how on earth am I going to survive? Seriously… it was a REAL problem!! Somebody help! My children are LITERALLY climbing the walls!!!)
Fast-forward and now we have a new cohort introduced… everything is on again. Soccer, swimming, football, netball, tennis, guitar, piano, singing, dancing, pottery, painting, the list goes on! Let’s make up for lost time, anything to keep away from screens. Activities… Every. Single. Day! A jammed pack schedule with little room for the kids to have quiet time, time to get bored, relax, rejuvenate. We NEED to make sure they catch up on everything they missed! After all, we cannot create a generation of sporting superstars or musical geniuses without hours and hours of practice, and we have missed so much practice, so we NEED to get the children locked into a jam-packed weekly schedule to make sure for whatever reason they do not miss that next big opportunity to be that ‘big thing!’ and make us proud. (ok… I’m exaggerating the point here, but you get it – from nothing to everything for whatever reason).
So, what is the right cohort? Where do your children fit?Is there such thing as balance anymore? It seems its one extreme or the other. How do we find the balance? I guess only time will tell. One thing is for sure though, the world is a different place now after so much change, but we still seek something consistent … happiness. Whichever cohort, however, you get to your balance, don’t lose sight of one of the most important factors... happiness. When you laugh, they laugh… people around laugh… nothing else really matters!