Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Urban Midwestern USA
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Rather than focusing so much on who to blame, I'd rather focus on where to go from here. I honestly don't think the parents of 50 or 100 years ago were hovering over their children, closely monitoring everything they put into their mouths; many of them didn't even know where their children were at every moment of the day, let alone what they were eating. But I suppose the snacks that were available to free range kids out roaming the fields and cities of yore were more along the lines of whatever fruits or berries that they might find growing wild, or the little bit of candy they could buy with their loose change at the corner store. Pretzels maybe?
And getting those snacks, plus finding interesting things to see and do, usually entailed a lot of walking. And I'm all for being as free-range as possible today! I have a 14yo who loves getting out and taking our dog for long walks, and a 9yo who sometimes enjoys playing outdoors with the kids in the neighborhood, but sometimes turns them down because she'd rather watch TV or play on her computer, or play with me. We did have a good time swimming for part of the summer, but then we got an uncustomary cool and rainy spell that nixed that for at least a few weeks total. Now the pools are closed and there's been a bit of a heat wave, but it seems to be tapering off, so I'm planning to start walking with dd2 to the park more often pretty soon. She's also now in a dance class one day a week, and when we encourage her and take time to watch her, she loves playing music and making up her own dances...but she still doesn't pursue this independently.
I guess one big difference today is that getting kids to spend more time outdoors seems to depend a lot more on parents than it did in the past -- or at least, it does until they develop their own "thing," like dd1 did with her long walks. Dd2 hasn't got that "thing" yet but hopefully something will click into place for her soon.
Susan -- married WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005), who started out unschooling and have now embarked on the public school adventure.