Like many of you, since Covid-19 I’ve had time to pause and reflect on everyday life. Prior to isolation I had no idea just how over scheduled my family had become. It would be a rush from the start of the day to the end with no real time to breathe! Our day would start frantically in a rush to get out the door on time, then drop offs at childcare and school and off to work for me. After work I’d rush to do school pick up, drop off my eldest to an after school activity then off to teach a children’s yoga class (which I love!!!) then back to pick up my eldest, collect the youngest on my way home from care and then walk in the door, already exhausted, just in time to cook dinner (sigh!). Wow, it’s exhausting just writing that, then forced isolation happened……….and to be completely honest I had no idea how we would handle it. I was pleasantly surprised that we all seemed grateful for the chance to finally stop and breathe and just be present.
In our modern society it appears there’s an unspoken pressure to ensure your children don’t miss out on opportunities. It seems we’ve subscribed to this belief that if our children aren’t participating, they’re missing out on being the best they can be. And if they aren’t doing the best they can, somehow we feel like we’ve failed as parents. It’s crazy how children’s lives have changed so much since I was a child. As a child I recall that we didn’t do any after school activities, in fact I don’t think it was until grade 5 we began to participate in school sport, and there definitely wasn’t any club sport until high school. I was fortunate to grow up on a small farm though so our time was always spent outdoors exploring and being creative. I never felt like I missed out on any opportunities and I have very fond memories of quality time spent with family, especially cousins, playing games and embarking on adventures together. Many years later I still went on to be competitive in sport and was privileged to represent my state in sports teams, so I definitely wasn’t impacted by not participating early on.
With so many distractions and opportunities available in our children’s lives I do believe it’s important that we help them find that one thing that lights them up, that activity that gives them that spark! When they find that thing that’s truly unique to them this allows their confidence, independence and intrinsic motivation to build, and from this comes passion and determination. These are all great qualities I’m sure we’d love our children to embrace. This reminds me of that saying “You can do anything, you just can’t do everything,” for me this means that by finding that one special thing that you/your children are passionate about it’s more empowering long term than participating in lots of things that are just ok.
So, having more time to stop and reflect has been a blessing and now that things are starting to go back to the new normal I’ve vowed that the only things welcome back into our family schedule are the ones that really light that spark, because having more time to connect, play and be present are what creates lifelong memories for children and adults.