My kids are frolicking! Really!! MY children!
They're outside, they're running around, they're having fun - without colorful plastic toys, without a play structure, without an adult overseeing, supervising, or facilitating…without ME!
Just a big backyard, rolling grass, a random hill or two and my kids. I've never seen anything so beautiful.
Maybe this wouldn't be such a big deal if I were used to it. But I'm not. We don't live in the country. This is just our summer vacation. At home, my kids almost never play outside, and they certainly don't play outside without me standing there beside them suggesting what to play and showing them exactly how to play it.
READ: The Importance of Play
When did kids stop knowing how to play? When I was a kid the rule was: come home from school, disappear until dinner, show up for food and go to sleep. My parents never watched us. And they didn't provide us with any "props" to facilitate our entertainment. Okay, I had one of those geo-domes and a zip line. But I barely used them. What was the point? The neighborhood was my oyster! All of the kids would get together after school and climb trees, play Red Rover, and ride bikes around and around (and around and around and around…) in the wide circular driveway behind my house until my dad, irritated by our repetitive cycling came outside yelling "ENOUGH ALREADY!"
That's the way frolicking was done in the olden days.
This is my fault. My kids have just never really frolicked. We live in a big city and they play inside where it's safe. They have video games, a playroom filled with toys, and a jacuzzi in the courtyard that I let them splash around in occasionally. But the big outdoors scares them.
The most freedom my kids have enjoyed is riding their bikes in the street. It sounds dangerous, but bike riding in my neighborhood consists of a grown-up, (i.e. "me") standing in the middle of the street or sitting on the curb watching vigilantly in both directions for any car movement. If I see any car along any road nearby I yell "CAR!" and the kids know to scatter immediately to the side of the road. When the car is gone, I yell "CLEAR!" and they resume their riding. That's it. And I sit right there the whole time...yelling..."CAR!" "CLEAR!" "CAR!...NO WAIT!...CLEAR!'
READ: Confessions of a Stepmom
It's unproductive. And boring. Once I invited my neighbors to join me for a little curbside cocktail hour as we watched our kids riding up and down the street and took turns yelling "CAR!" and "CLEAR!" and "PASS THE WINE." It made it more entertaining. But you can't really do that everyday, can you?
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Written by Sarah Maizes for Hybrid Mom.