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Monday, 14 October 2013

How do your kids broaden their horizons?

When I was a kid, 100 years ago, no one had DVD players and certainly didn't have a collection of favourite shows to bring with them. My parents went to dinner parties and I was expected to disappear under the table or into another room that may or may not have a TV.

There was a season when the late movie every Saturday night was a Vincent Price flick. I loved these movies, even though I was terrified at the same time. They were bad, and I never got to see the end, because I fell asleep or my parents went home. I can't even tell you what happened in them, but many years later, as a 12 year old, I discovered Vincent Price did audio cassettes (I'm old, remember) of Edgar Allen Poe. I'd never heard of Poe but I liked Vincent Price's voice in the movies, so I borrowed them from the library. I used to listen to them on my Walkman at night and scare myself silly. To this day I adore Poe. As a 12 year old, I was a poor reader and not a very mature reader. I didn't know Poe was a literary genius. I loved him all the same. Tell tale heart, The Black Cat, The Fall of the House of Usher, the lot. I was spellbound, and would listen repeatedly, never growing tired of the words.

Long story to explain that being forced to explore new things can lead to better things, and broader interests.

These days, if kids are tagging along and going to be bored, we bring a DVD they like, we bring a DS or something to entertain them. I do too. How are they ever going to extend their horizons if they're always accommodated with their own interests?

We can take them to museums, or recommend books or music, but there's something really special when you discover it for yourself. I went to Paris as a very na├»ve and uneducated 20-something, and went to the Orangerie to see the works of Monet and Picasso. I returned home and told my mum "There was this other painter, I'd never heard of, but he's brilliant. I loved all his works". She looked at me, smiling, and said "Andre Derain is really famous. Really, really famous." An eon later, he's still my favourite, and I'm sure it's because I felt I discovered him for myself, not because I'd been told by other people to think he was good.

So how do kids these days explore new things if everything is either catered for them, or on demand? Or am I doing that old lady thing where I over sentimentalize the past?

Interested in thoughts on this. Is it a problem? Are we creating cookie cutter kids?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

20 comments:

  1. Really thought provoking post, Lydia. I am guilty of shipping my eldest off to her Gran's house with a collection of Dora DVDs to keep her happy. In saying that though, she is becoming a little more independent with her play. (She's three) I don't always need to initiate the play. She will go outside and search for flowers and play in the garden. She will talk to herself, run and skip investigating the world around her. Maybe it's just the case of backing off on the pre-planned, structured play to let them invent their own games and explore?

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    1. Don't get me wrong - I'm guilty too. It's just easier & 'safer' (guaranteed peace). But it gets me thinking....

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  2. Thanks for this, Lydia, and I agree with you. Kids need to learn to explore their own world and their own minds without being spoon fed by us. I think it has definitely become worse than when we were growing up because of technology now. I'm trying to crack down on techy stuff at the moment and encourage my daughter to "discover."

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  3. My girls are three and 7mths old and as they grow older I will encourage them to play with different toys (which I rotate around), do different craft, go to different parks and etc. As a parent, I think you can encourage your children to try something different by offering them different experiences when you can so that they aren't afraid of trying new things when they are older. Well that' s my view, but whether it will work... I'll let you know in a couple of years. :)

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    1. Just discovered your Styled by Bec - that ribbon bangle is great!

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  4. I so agree (and I'm a bit old too) that there is so little room for spontaneous discovery these days and our kids are poorer for it - whether it be make-believe because there is nothing electronic to stimulate them or someone famous and good (not a celebrity) for them to discover. I reckon bring back those Sunday evening mini-series - there was the one about the convict days, whose name I can't remember, starring John ? (the guy with the big black eyes whose name escapes me right now damn it). As a family we loved it - not simply as entertainment but for the education and discovery.

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    1. John English . That's so sad I know that. Against the wind? Will need to google but I know which one you mean...

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    2. Don't worry old girls, I remember that one well!

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  5. Interesting thought really. I show my kids by example to take risks and try new things. I think our kids will learn differently to how we did because there is so much information around them. We have one TV, no portable dvd players, no videos or games on phones, I encourage independant play as much as possible. For the teens, if we are out with other people they know that pulling out the phone is rude they need to be present in the situation. Get out of the house and go somewhere different!

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  6. Great food for thought. I agree. We seemed to be forced to use our imagination more back in 'our day'. We try to expose our kids to lots of different things and try to limit electronic devices and love travelling with the kids.

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  7. I can remember going to friends homes with my folks and going to sleep on the parents bed and then Dad carrying us to the car. LOL - back in the day when we used to read, cycle to friends house and play hop-scotch on the road (cul-de-sac). I think I landed up making K entertain herself more than I ever entertained her (because I don't do children entertaining very well) - she reads the most amazing books that I have never even heard of but I do see how it can be a problem for others.
    As always - a great post !!!
    Have the best day.
    Me

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  8. Great food for thought. I try not to bring all that stuff when going places, and try to limit it at home. I think everything in moderation. My son is an only child so he's pretty good at playing on his own and using his imagination and he tells heaps of stories. I think just exposing them to different things is enough, and there are times and places for them to broaden their horizons. An 8 hour car ride may be the exception where I say bring all the movies and technology you can find! ;-) Aroha

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  9. Honestly I'd much rather my kids inside meeting people than waiting in the car out the front like my husband was expected to. The three boys would get up to too much 'mischief' and were expected to stay outside even in hot days. They weren't given much of a chance to expereince new things. We use the technology in the car - because we have to drive so far everytime we go somewhere - but when we go somewhere new the kids would much rather look out the window.

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  10. I think I have got it half right, being lazy and all. I prefer Mr4 has time to play on his own (he is extremely creative), just plain do what you come up with time. We take our son to lunch and he sits up with us big kids to eat and maybe join the conversation.
    I do hope that our laziness is actually a bonus for him and he broadens his own creative horizons :)

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  11. I remember going out with our parents and we used to take books, both to read and colour.
    Bell has only had an ipad for 6 months, so hasn't had the choice before then. She always takes books if we're going somewhere for a long time. I'm a bit excited that she has a list of books planned to read from the school library before this term ends.
    Also, Vincent Price was on The Brady Bunch last week, and his voice never gets old for me. x

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  12. Oh I love the concept of cookie cutter kids! I was thinking about this idea today. We fear the whole idea of kids getting bored. Sometimes boredom is good for you. I know it was for me. Boredom can be creativity's best teacher ;)

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  13. What truth you speak. It allows them to have a discovery all to themselves - and own it. Something I will keep in mind as she grows...

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  14. You are so right!!! We never had videos etc and just had to find ways to amuse ourselves, and it was great! However, we were also in a small country town where there were less things that could go wrong, little, if no crime. I love when my daughter says she's bored I just tell her I will never buy her a toy again because she doesn't use the ones in her room! xx

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  15. Mr 4 is starting to give his toys voices and I love listening to the little conversations he has with them. When I was little we used to go to the Library regularly and it's something that I am going to start doing with Mr 4. He loves books and being read to.

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  16. I try to force my kids to get creative and amuse themselves, but I think I made a mistake by buying the DS's etc at the same time. Nearly every time we have to go somewhere that entails a wait, the young ones want to take their DS's.

    Great post. And a lot of food for thought.

    MC xo
    #teamIBOT

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