Preserving your child’s childhood
Dr Jozelle Miller
May 10, 2022
Preserving your child’s childhood

There is no doubt that we are now living in a fastpaced world. Things are moving swiftly around us, and the development process of children has also taken flight, where children are seen to be quite precocious at an early age.

Many parents are now concerned that their children are growing too fast and would prefer to delay the desire to ‘grow up’ and allow children to be able to play, imagine and create, giving them time to fully enjoy their childhood. It is important that the avenue is provided for children to talk and to be heard, allowing them to express their fears, needs and concerns, without trying to raise them into adulthood prematurely or to make them think as adults.

Too often as adults, it is projected that children look cute when he or she behaves like an adult, but it is very unhealthy for the mental health of the child. Childhood is a time when a child develops imagination, creativity, and maintain their innocence. It is imperative that adequate time and space is given to foster the proper development of the child into an adolescent and eventually a well-rounded adult.

Here are some tips to help children take their time in growing up:

1. Get Kids Moving

It’s so important for kids to be active and move their bodies every day.

Enrol kids in activities like sports or dance classes, this will help their bodies to grow and develop naturally, while burning off energy. Encourage outdoor play by giving them access to the outdoors and free reign to run and play.

2. Provide Opportunities for Creativity

Set up a creative space in your home with art supplies, dress-up clothes, and props for kids to use in pretend play. This will give them an outlet to express themselves creatively.

3. Give More Unstructured Playtime

One of the best things you can do as parents is give your kids plenty of opportunities for unstructured and open-ended playtime. This type of play is essential for kids to learn how to entertain themselves, problem solve, and socialise.

4. Set Limits on Technology Usage

Children are generally on their electronic devices for extended periods for school and recreation. It is therefore critical that parents take control of their online activity by using parental control apps and wi-fi password access. If you don’t want to go that route, put usage limits in place and require that outside time and social time take place before devices are allowed.

5. Provide Age-Appropriate Clothes

Many kids are influenced by what they see influencers wearing and feel the need to dress older than their age. Sit down with your child and discuss your values as a family and purchase clothing that aligns with those expectations. It is inappropriate for children to be dressed in clothing that are sexually provocative and sends the wrong message to other children and perverted adults.

6. Ensure They Get Quality Sleep

This is so important!

Kids need at least ten hours of sleep each night for their brains to develop properly, but many kids aren’t getting that much rest because they are using technology before bedtime or staying up

too late. If your child complains that they aren’t tired at bedtime, simply push back their wake-up time by 15 minutes each day until they feel sleepy at the right time.

7. Keep Screens Out of Bedrooms

This one should be a no-brainer, but screens need to be completely banned from kids’ bedrooms. Not only does this help with getting quality sleep, but it also prevents kids from using technology when they’re not supposed to.

With so much distance learning taking place, this is more important than ever. Kids have logical reasons for being online, but it’s quite tempting to scroll social media or start gaming. Keeping all devices in public areas reduces the chance that this will happen.

8. Talk About Values as a Family

One of the best ways to help kids’ slowdown is to talk about values as a family. Discuss what’s important to you and your child and come up with ways to live by those values every day. This could be anything from being kind to others, helping around the house, to being respectful, responsible, and honest.

9. Prioritise Quality Time with Friends and Family

Being connected to friends and family is so important for kids, but these days kids are staying in their rooms most of the time. Try to frequently plan fun activities with your kids that will strengthen family bonds and relationships with friends.

10. Do not confide in your children

It is important not to disclose your deep personal issues with your children, especially if they are not at the age to process the information shared.

Stressors relating to adult relationships, finances, in some instances health should be managed independently of the children, and only information that is relevant and necessary for the child should be shared in age-appropriate language, making sure that the child understands and is reassured that they are safe and loved.

The truth is as adults, we are mindful of the great responsibility that comes with growing up.

As much as is humanly possible, adults should try to preserve the innocence of children. Let us allow for organic development, where guidance is provided as they engage and navigate the world in a healthy way.

The best thing you can do as your kids grow is to provide opportunities for them to enjoy childhood as much as possible so they can look back on these years with fond memories and appreciation.