I am currently on a pet sitting job. The dogs are wonderful and well-behaved. There is a huge tv with Netflix. It’s been so quiet here by myself and I have been productive in creating a multi-use language board. I’m going to use it for learning letters, letter sounds and learning vowels and consonants.
I don’t sleep well at any time, but when away from home it’s worse. When I get this tired, I seem to do a lot of deeper thinking. As I was working on my preschool tools, I started looking back over the years. I realized how much things have changed for kids. I also realized how much kids have changed.
A long time ago, when I was young, we had very few toys. We had a few board games, card games and a lot of books. We had tons of imagination. We could play and pretend anything we wanted. We spent countless hours with our toy trucks and cars, making roads and cities in a patch of dirt in our back yard. We used whatever we could find to build the cities. It didn’t really matter much to us if they didn’t look real. An empty milk carton or small box worked great for buildings. They became real in our minds.
When my own kids were young, they did much of the same thing, but with a couple of differences. I allowed them to watch more television than I was allowed to watch, and we did have a gaming system. Mario was a favorite in the house. My daughter didn’t play games often, and was happy with her dolls and doll house. My son, however, would play games all day long if I let him. He rushed through chores and school work to get to them. I insisted he play outside and he did have friends, but he loved his games.
Over the three decades that I have cared for children, I have seen a slow but steady change. Thinking of the families I have worked for in the last five years or so, it is amazing the difference between my childhood and theirs. Most, not all but most, of the kids have very little imagination. They always have some type of electronics in hand and can’t seem to function without them for any length of time. If I put a container of blocks and some toy cars in front of them, they have no idea what to do with them. They might half-heartedly try to build something for a few minutes, but they get bored fast. The train set that my kids played with for hours at a time is rarely used these days. I get them started, building a track and hoping to spark some imagination, but most of the kids look at me as if I’ve lost my mind.
The world moves faster these days. The kids watch a lot of exciting movies, and they play very exciting video games. The pace is fast, and you can lose yourself in these games. I really think this is a huge factor in the attitude I get when trying to get the kids to use their imaginations and think for themselves.
It makes me sad to know that 3, 4 and 5 year old kids can’t take basic toys such as blocks, legos, trains and cars, and use their imaginations. These things bore them. They don’t move on their own and the pace is too slow. These kids can’t think for themselves. If I don’t let them play games, they are lost. They whine and complain that they are bored and they want me to tell them what to do. They can’t figure out what to do!
It also affects learning. They do fine if I use a computer learning program that is fast paced and uses games. But, sit them down to do crafts, or work sheets or flash cards, and I get attitude from them. They want nothing to do with it. They act bored. Unfortunately, these kids need to be able to do these things! They will be in school soon. I highly doubt the teachers will let them play games all day long.
My challenge is to be the bad guy. I need to limit, or cut out game playing during the day. I wonder if it’s possible to change the minds of the kids who are so addicted to games that it’s all they want to do? I need to find a way to help these kids free their imaginations. They should be able to get through a day without game stimulation.
Hopefully, some sleep and a clear head will make this look possible. Right now, I’m feeling frustrated and sad. I feel as if I’m banging my head against a brick wall. I feel bad for these kids who missed out on the fun I had as a child. Many hours outside playing with friends. Using whatever we could find to make prompts for our games. Our days filled with fun and excitement that didn’t include a television and a controller.
I need to find a way to let them see the fun they are missing! Starting Monday, things change. It will be interesting.