As a working mum, I must admit that I did not have much time for my 2 daughters when they were growing up. I did the usual bedtime stories, including making up stories about Mr Muddle and various storybook characters.
My children had piano lessons, swimming lessons, art lessons, computer skill lessons and Chinese tuition. They learnt how to roller skate and cycle. My younger daughter also bought herself a skateboard and went skateboarding with neighbourhood kids. However, all these activities were not enough to keep her occupied, and just about everyday she would complain “Mum, I’m bored”.
Now, it is their turn to keep their young children occupied and engaged. Fortunately there are many activities available for kids these days. My grandchildren have been/are involved in taekwondo, swimming, tennis, ballet, gymnastics (recreational, competitive), ninja warrior, scouting, forest school, musical theatre, pottery making, and cooking and baking lessons from their parents. Only a full time mum has the luxury of time to ferry her children to these activities. The kids also learn how to draw with on-line tutorials. They read prodigiously, for which I am grateful. And of course there is Netflix.
Link between Childhood ECAs and Life Skills
Childhood activities are important, as they contribute to basic life skills. Riding a bicycle is much easier to pick up when young. Even if you stop playing a musical instrument, you have learnt basic music theory or are able to appreciate music better. Socialization skills, IT skills, cooking skills etc picked up during childhood are of value to one’s life.
The young brain is able to pick up and memorise with alacrity even when they don’t understand what the words mean. Just listen to a toddler singing ABCDEFG. Learning any task when young takes much less time than when you are older. As an example, to become completely fluent in a new language, you should start before the age of 10. An older person may have to repeat a word 30 times to remember it. My grandnieces picked up mahjong in a jiffy and play during Chinese New Year. My sister and I, on the other hand, don’t even try to learn, finding it impossible to remember the intricacies of the game. We were brought up by a strict Methodist grandmother who considered mahjong, card playing, smoking and alcohol as sinful activities.
So, it is good to engage children from young. If children get bored with too little to learn, it may result in a surfeit of Netflix or social media. Of course children need some free time of their own to explore and test their creativity. As usual, balance is the key.
Mum I’m Bored
I asked my younger daughter, “So, do you children complain about being bored?” “Yes, they do!”, despite their many activities. Kids just need to be occupied all the time! But some boredom is good for children, so they develop the ingenuity to figure out how to occupy themselves. So, parents will continue to hear this complaint, Mum, I’m bored.