I grew up in the most stress free environment. My younger brother and myself, were not aware of the words, ‘stress’ and ‘stress free’. We had ample outdoor games with friends and also a lot of indoor free play with very few toys but infinite imagination.
We used to go on long walks with our father in the most natural surroundings; grass and small hills. He would subtly enhance our observations during these walks and I think his own enthusiasm and passion made us truly interested in the world around.
A very fixed routine was followed at home. Sleeping and waking up timings were the same for years. A lot of importance was given to good health with healthy eating habits and a joyful meal time.
I grew up watching my father, how he interacted with children and how easily they could connect with him. He had a genuine smile when with little children. Almost all my cousins and later my children remember him fondly for long walks, swimming, playing cards, carrom and all sorts of summer activities, including a ritual of making mango juice.
Later when we were in our teenage, the fun was still present but it had changed to the age appropriate activities. We spent summer nights sleeping on a terrace observing the starry night sky and with my father showing us all the zodiacs. Tracing a moving satellite was also great fun!! We also used to spend our days reading books, listening to all types of music, attending classical music live concerts and travelling!
As I write about my childhood I realize how much it is influenced by my father! In our early childhood we used to imitate him and in our later years, he was our ‘loving authority’. When I started working as a kindergarten teacher in a Waldorf school, I could connect to it because I had experienced it in my childhood and who would not want such rich childhood for all the children around us?
With the changing times and lifestyles, the childhood is diminishing.
Who has time to enjoy childhood? Everyone is in a hurry. Parents do not have time to enjoy parenthood and children are losing out on their childhood. It has gone to a crazy levels and all of us know the effects of it. It is high time that we give it a thought. We need to orient ourselves in the direction of health; for us and for the future generation.
A little change in our daily routines is inevitable when we have very young children and this simple change can a have a great, long-lasting positive impact on a child. It is necessary to put in efforts at this time to avoid many serious problems in future. Healthy food habits, meal timings and good sleep are very basic things but if we can maintain a good routine at home, that is the best gift we can give to our children and to ourselves.