Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Let's give our kids their childhood

My son is 5 months old, my cousin's daughter is 8 months old and that of my friend's daughter is 13 months old. We are already discussing when to put them in playschool, daycare or whatever you call it - I'm not quite familiar with what comes first yet. The question is what is the right age - 18 months, 24 months or not until 4 years old? Is 4 years too late to being and would my child lose THE EDGE as compared to other kids? This EDGE thing and comparison 24*7 is killing and it is time for a reality check.

I'm wondering what has become of us ..are we concerned parents or ones who want our kids to become SUPER KIDS. Goes without saying that Indians and Chinese are considered the most fussiest of all the parents in the world, according to a Discovery Channel report on child rearing practices across the world. Some questions/instances that came to my mind and guess about it is time for introspection :

  1. How many of us DON'T plan any activities for kids during summer vacation - as in enrolling them in a summer camp or an activity of some kind - such as learning skates/playing piano etc that the kid might not necessarily enjoy?

  2. How many of you have this schedule for your kids?
    Monday - Drawing/Painting
    Tuesday - Singing/Dancing
    Wednesday - Abacus
    Thursday - Chess/Swimming
    Friday - Skating
    Saturday - none, mommy couldn't come up with anything.
    Sunday -Cricket coaching, mind you not street cricket with other kids. It is COACHING. or some abracadabra class.

    Oh and don't forget the tuition's after these classes are over every evening.
    I think every mommy has checklist to ensure all areas are covered - studying, extra curricular, etc etc
    Thank you mommy for giving a day's break on Saturday. I feel like a kid.
    I have seen instances where there are some classes even in the mornings.

  3. Oh, I forget the foreign vacation. This was natural kid's talk in the apartment we used to live in Bangalore. When one kid said, "I got this ball from London", the other said, "So what, this cap is from SFO."

  4. If you live abroad, I am sure your kid must be in the top 3 of his/her class. Indians forever have been obsessive about rank. No wonder it is an Indian American kid who bagged the NGC's spelling bee contest last year.

  5. Does your kid know all the thirukurals when she is 5 years old?

  6. Does your kid know the names of all the countries/capitals in the world by the time she is 4 years old?

  7. Oh and how about the Sudoku contest going on in town this Saturday?

  8. How many of your kids spend Sunday mornings reading tinkle or archies or chandamama or for that matter Harry Potter? IS "Harry Potter and the deathly hallows" a must-read because it is the talk of the town or does your son enjoy that?

Sadly, these are the parameters by which we judge our children today - by the number of things they do and the number of classes they go to.

Maybe I am overreacting but I can't for once remember going to tuition even in my 12th Std. and I did fairly well for that. Nor did I go to any class. Don't get me wrong. I had a happy childhood that I will fondly remember forever. Those were days when we played some games that didn't have any thinking to do like stapo, ghar ghar with my brother where we would pluck flowers and leaves from our garden and set up fake houses on the bed on Sunday afternoons. Oh and I forget that chor sipahi and hide and seek which was amazing fun. What has happened to all of them?

And sure I knew all the countries and capitals in Africa but it was a fun thing I did with dad every night at the dining table.I started school late, at 5, and didn't know alphabet in the right order till I completed my 1st Std though I stood first in my class so it made my teacher wonder if I copied every time in the exam. She made me stand outside the whole day for that. I'm not suggesting that we send our kids to school at 5 but isn't 18 months too early? I may not have too many talents but I can do a decent sketch and most important I enjoy doing that. And we haven't turned out any bad in our professional lives either.

Of all the classes that you send your kid to, how many does he/she really enjoy?
Its a different thing that kids are quick learners and will excel with a little encouragement. But is it too many for them?

I don't know if it is our competitiveness or the me-too mania that forces one to enrol their kids in 2 additional classes than the one the neighbour has put their kid in. Or if it is the obsession to flaunt your child does this and that in your kitty parties and social circle? Or as it has happened for generations with Indians, are you living your dreams through your children - the guitarist that you wanted to be always but couldn't because your dad decided you had to be an engineer?

Is it too much to ask if you can let your infant enjoy her infancy, kid live her childhood and play the game she wants to and not the one you want her to? Your child becoming a prodigy might make you happy and will get all the media attention but what about your her? A happy childhood will make her a better person.

I would like to hear from you all...


choxbox said...

hi there. first time here, interestings tuff.
had done a similar post, link above.