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Preserving the Magic of Childhood for Only Children

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I was wondering how other parents of onlies make sure their child lives in a kid-centered world, instead of an adult-centered one.  I think it's a great bonus that onlies tend to interact well with adults and are used to being around them, but how do you go about preserving the magic of childhood and filtering out the adult world?

 

Maybe I'm wrong, but for some reason I feel like I might be more conscious of this in a family with multiples...or the kids would go off and construct their own world anyway.  With just DS, I feel like we might forget that he is so small, and that he should be guarded from some things.  

 

I've already started trying to limit work complaints, world news, politics, etc. in front of him to some extent (though it is hard, because we co-sleep and all go to bed at the same time - so there's really no "adult only" evening time to address these issues).  We are still learning how to go from our normal relationship as a couple to a family of three - when he was a baby, we just kind of talked over his head alot about adult matters, but the bigger he gets (he's nearly 14 months), the more this concerns me.

 

When adults outnumber the children in a household...what steps do you take to keep it from being too adult-centered?  What can we do to help create a loving, warm, secure environment with lots of make believe and perhaps a little less realism?  Should that even be a concern?  I certainly want our child to be globally-conscious, just in a developmentally appropriate way, ykwim?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 

Perhaps I'm the only one worried about this... redface.gif

post #3 of 12

Hi! I did worry about this when DD was younger (she's 7 now). Now that she's in school I am always having her friends over so they can play in their world without much adult intervention. Her games and playing style are very different when she's with friends, when she's alone and when she's playing with me or with her dad. I grew up with my sister and cousins and I do remember being completely absorbed in our games and grownups did not play with us, but I do enjoy playing with her too and would not give that up. :)

 

When she was little we joined a playgroup of like-minded moms and we still see these friends from time to time. It's been lovely seeing all of them grow up. :)

post #4 of 12

We were at a picnic at DD's school last night, and there was a pack of kids running around the playground, while the adults sat on our blankets eating our food. I was glad my kid was one of the pack.

 

I know what you mean about "child only" space, and I do wonder sometimes if I'm doing enough to give DD that experience. When I was growing up, my brother and I were allowed (after a certain age) to go down the block to play at the park by ourselves, and there were other neighborhood kids there that we'd join, and I remember that being really great. We do have a park near our house now, but I'm not sure at what age I'd be comfortable sending DD there by herself. She's only 3.

 

We are not very good at limiting the adult political conversations around DD, though I think she mostly tunes them out for now. She does have her own spaces in the house where she can retreat if she doesn't want to be part of the adult talk. And sometimes she just says, "Stop talking!"

post #5 of 12
OP, I think you are right to worry about this. My son is 2 yrs old and I do consciously try to not talk things like politics, gossip, financial worries etc. They absorb more than we think redface.gif I think your only will be fine, the fact that you care and thought of this, makes me think you will find a way to have the strcitly adult talks. Once he is older, and not attached to you anymore so muchm maybe it wikk get easier!
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you all! I agree with you Amy - I do think it will get easier when we have more "adult" time to talk about these things.  For now, I'll just try to limit it as much as I can, or at least make sure it doesn't turn from serious conversation into angry harping (not healthy for us adults, either!).

 

It can be difficult - we try not to watch the news as much in the evening because, in addition to disturbing imagery, it will really ignite some heated political discussions.  And I'm trying to help DH find better ways to channel his work stress, rather than going over and over and over the day's disappointments.  It's hard to be supportive of DH and still protective of DS, for sure! 

post #7 of 12

I found the book Simplicity Parenting very useful in this regard. Good luck :)

post #8 of 12

You know, I don't really worry about keeping my DD out of our adult world. She has grown up listening to NPR news, listening to us discuss paying bills, knowing about medical issues, etc. I guess I've always thought she is going to be a grown-up and seeing "her" grown-ups figure life out is enriching her in some way. She is free to listen, ask questions, or go about with her own stuff (which she does more than not).

 

However, our actual day to day life is kid-focused. We make dinner together. We watch kid TV. We play kid games. All our weekend fun and vacations are always kid-centered and age appropriate.

 

Now that DD is older, we have three equally important schedules to maintain at my house (me, DD, and DH); school, work, home time, personal time, etc. I know a lot of my older co-workers think I am crazy to give my DD's schedule the same level of importance as mine, but we all have our own interests and school/work. I consider kids equal with parents, not a sub-set. Maybe that's because I grew up where kids were not meant to be seen or heard. I definitely don't want to subject her to that. I don't want to have a life that she has no part in.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Amy!  I got it from the library a couple weeks ago and had kind of hit a wall with it - but you inspired me to pick it back up.  I am almost to that chapter about filtering out the adult world now - hopefully it will be helpful! smile.gif

 

julieven - I completely understand what you mean about wanting DD to be an equally important participant in your life.  This is the balance I'm struggling to strike.  We take DS everywhere with us (we've never left him), partly out of our parenting philosophy and partly his HN personality, haha.  He is a very observant, intense and sensitive child.  That's why I'm worried about overwhelming him or stressing him out.  

 

He's a bit too small to really tune us out, ya know?  And he doesn't have a built-in playmate to relate to, while we are busy with "grown up" stuff.  We are his "people" - whereas when I was little, it was more like, my sister and I were on the same team, could talk about how boring the adults were and go play, etc.  He can go off in the corner with some toys, I suppose - but I feel like he is still very connected to us and our emotions, and he's old enough to understand most of what we say beyond the tone, too.

 

I think what you mentioned about making everything from dinner to games age appropriate is good advice.  We try to do that as well.  I know when he gets older he'll have time for playmates, too, and that will give him some more "kid" time. 

 

For now, I guess I'm just trying to limit the adult talk to a minimum and keep things kid-friendly (or at least be able to discuss adult topics in a kid-friendly manner instead of getting stressed and bent out of shape!).  

post #10 of 12
OP, yes he can be repetitive I agree. I had to slog through and skip quite a few chunks of it.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by julieven View Post

You know, I don't really worry about keeping my DD out of our adult world. She has grown up listening to NPR news, listening to us discuss paying bills, knowing about medical issues, etc. I guess I've always thought she is going to be a grown-up and seeing "her" grown-ups figure life out is enriching her in some way. She is free to listen, ask questions, or go about with her own stuff (which she does more than not).

 

However, our actual day to day life is kid-focused. We make dinner together. We watch kid TV. We play kid games. All our weekend fun and vacations are always kid-centered and age appropriate.

 

Now that DD is older, we have three equally important schedules to maintain at my house (me, DD, and DH); school, work, home time, personal time, etc. I know a lot of my older co-workers think I am crazy to give my DD's schedule the same level of importance as mine, but we all have our own interests and school/work. I consider kids equal with parents, not a sub-set. Maybe that's because I grew up where kids were not meant to be seen or heard. I definitely don't want to subject her to that. I don't want to have a life that she has no part in.

 

 

Julieven: I agree with you about the value of watching grown ups work out and discuss grown up situations like the ones you were mentioned.  My grandmother and aunt used to talk about those things infront of me and I think it has helped me as an adult to reference back to how they handled things.  I think they did something similar to what you were mentioning, pickle18, they discussed adult topics in a kid-friendly manner.  And they NEVER gossiped in front of me which is the main thing that DH and I are trying to keep from doing.  Not that we maliciously gossip but, for example, if I'm having an issue with his parents or something we wait til Z's in bed and then discuss it.  

 

IN our house we also keep day to day life kid-focused.  We feel like we have lots of life to be focused on us and these days are fleeting...especially with one.  We are a family and we will do things that are of interest to all of us.  

post #12 of 12

We are equally concerned about our child's view of the adult world, and maybe it is different to think about this with an only child than with children at different stages of care.  My longtime closest friend who has multiples and an infant! manages this in a way that is not our experience but relates to it.  I am realizing now that she focuses on the magic of childhood as you put it - I LOVE that phrase, and her home is a haven of this.  While we do not have a dedicated playroom and multiple bedrooms at our house, do we still have the magic of childhood in our family?

 

I think so.

 

We do focus on conversation more than food at the dinner table (although I love food, don't get me wrong!) and it is our conversation, not watered down.  Any magic there?  We ALWAYS let the toddler participate, have a turn, and we listened and complimented whatever was being said intelligible or not at first!  Now a few years later we get amazing surprises of thoughtful words at dinner.  It blows us away really.

 

Our family room is covered in art supplies, our living room has an open space  - a whole giant floor rug dedicated to build tents and forts and camp out space.  We have found some film/tv/video to love and re-enact those in child led storylines.  We take playing along very seriously around here (you better be up on your Winnie the pooh and Jeremy Fisher around here or you'll fall behind).

 

and our favorite is "Mama, I have an idea....."  We run with it.  Why else would I have a three floor model of an ocean going boat made out of cardboard and finger paint???  It took two weeks.  (See Busytown, What do people do all day?, page 28. serious kid business)

 

Our sum-up?  We can focus on kid-led projects and take ideas farther in a way that stretches the imagination and demonstrates that the adult world is complicated and wonderful, a place to one day make your ideas a reality.  This is what matters to us! Passing on the skills to follow a dream.

 

Could I do that with triplets?  I would have to hold consensus building board meetings and develop committee work to handle all that (maybe that's how she does it? she is a super volunteer organizer, that triplet mom friend of mine) But our way is a little calmer, but no less zany, fun, silly and above all magic.

 

I am holding onto that phrase, the magic of childhood.  It doesn't mean driving around amongst a million tiring activities and test prepping, it just can't.

 

(We talk over the sleeping head all the time, about really tough things, maybe they will dominate her dreams one day - Yikes! -the way npr dominates mine - so beware falling asleep accidentally leaving the radio on!)  Parent illnesses and struggling marriages, those are our only off limit topics, and I do  turn the radio channel on war, rape, murder, suicide, an execution stories - nearly everything lately. I prefer magic to horror.)

 

I know I've gone on and on , but this is me thinking it through finally - many thanks for the thread and the starter inspiration!

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