I know what you are thinking, “How can rules in childhood be good?”. Are children supposed to be given all the freedom to play and have fun when they are young?These are a few questions that might pop up in your mind.
Well, let me tell you from my experience that I had a very happy childhood, almost full of bliss. Let me break it down for you.
Setting Ground Rules:
Kids do respond to basic ground rules at home. There are certain things you can and cannot do at home.
Few of them might include
· Jumping on the sofa or bed
· Hitting siblings or parent
· Handling unsafe objects
These are a few things for their physical safety. Even though kids take a little while to understand the importance of following these rules, it helps in the long run.
I remember when I told my kid that he can use a pencil or pen only when he wants to write or draw. Handling them while playing was not allowed. This prevents accidental incidents of stabbing. So every time when he is using a pencil while playing, I remind him that pencils are for writing and not playing. In a few days, he understood it and stopped this habit.
Setting Time Blocks for regular tasks:
After returning from school, we usually clean up and then have some healthy snacks. After that, it was playtime. At 6.30 pm we were expected to be back for completing the day’s homework.
Though we resented that all the other kids were playing and we were expected to be home by 6.30, it really helped in our performance at school. Having regular study time made our academic performance excellent. In time, it became a part of our schedule that we did not even notice.
I now realize that it was very easy for us to attend exams, and I never had any exam jitters. Seeing kids today struggling with exams and having anxiety issues at a very young age, made me realize how regular studies helped overcome this.
Rules that are never set on Stone:
Even though there were always rules in place, they were never too strongly implemented. We always had cheat days.
· Always have a cheat day where kids get extra play time
· Reward good behaviour with time off or extra play time
· Give a surprise break day, this is a sure shot at excitement
Friday was always a free day. We were never expected to follow the same rules on Friday as on other working days. The weekend was super relaxed and fun.
Having free weekends meant that we had a lot of free time, to play and have fun. It was so relaxing that we felt fully fresh and ready to face the week ahead when Monday started. The boredom from weekend almost ensured that we were looking forward to going to school on Mondays.
Limited TV time:
Having restricted TV time was one of the factors that helped to develop creativity.
Having lots of free time, we never knew how to kill time. This led us to get creative and play and do activities that we would not have done otherwise.
I started painting and reading books. This opened a whole new world that I never knew existed. I developed a love for books that continues until this day. This also helps to hone my writing skills. I wanted to write stories, poems and daily journaling at a very young age.
We used to role play as doctors and engineers building bridges and as an explorer going on great adventures. We used blankets to make tents and imagined we were camping in a dense forest.
From someone who has been on both sides of the coin, rules are good as long as they are non-restrictive and help children explore their interests as well as give enough space for individual growth.
As the vine thrives on the support of an Oak tree, it is for us parents to provide a supportive and nurturing environment for our children.
AND THRIVE THEY SHALL…!!!