Letting children be children is an uphill challenge these days I feel. There is a certain eagerness as kids to grow up faster. To be able to do what adults do. Yet once you get there you realize that actually it really isn’t that much fun.
With that and the increasing pressures from society and development in technology and entertainment it’s becoming harder and harder to protect our children’s innocence.
That’s one of the reasons I love Portugal for raising a family so much. In many ways it is stuck in a time warp. Kids are treated as such, they muddy their knees, play outdoors and get into general mischief.
Sure the creep of computer games and tv has made it’s way over here, but the feeling of safety and community is still a lot stronger than it now is in the UK. Family still go out together on a Sunday for a walk after lunch. Everyone is involved in the children’s upbringing etc.
Of course we need to teach them, we need to show discipline and help them understand how the world works and enable them to grow into respectable adults. But rush this process and take away the chance to play and it goes wrong very very quickly.
Mistakes are There to be Learned From
We learn by our mistakes and children are the same. I am not saying let them out their to endanger themselves. But though play and imagination they experiment. They learn and they make small mistakes which guide them into the right path. Take away the playing and they fail to learn.
When we were growing up we were allowed out on our bikes all day. We had adventures. Climbed trees. Got into trouble without our parents knowing. So long as we were back before dark, we were pretty much left to our own devices.
Now I would love for my children to experience the same type of childhood as I did. In a way living here in Portugal means they are probably luckier than some. They will have some level of understanding and experience of the childhoods of past. More so that in the UK. But times have changed everywhere and if I am honest with myself. they will never get to experience the true childhood I did.
That’s why it’s important, no matter how much you have to get done, to limit TV or screen time and throw the kids out into the back garden even if it’s cold or raining. They learn then how to stay warm, or stay dry. More importantly they learn that things like this shouldn’t stop them from exploring and enjoying things.
In fact it’s not just about helping them learn and grow as people. It’s about allowing them the opportunity to build memories. Memories that will stick with them a life time. that will shape how they too wish to raise their own children when they time comes. After all once you become an adult. You understand why you should let children be children.