Back in the 1980s and early 90s, parents just operated differently. They were free range before that was even a thing and kids today need some of that. If you were a child back then, you had less structure and supervision and you probably loved it. While we can all agree that hot metal slides and car trips without seat belts are better left in the past, these “vintage parenting” things should make a comeback.
- Make kids play outside – According to the CDC, kids between eight and 10 spend about six hours a day in front of a screen for entertainment, not counting what they do for educational purposes. Let’s get those kids outside more where they can make mud pies, climb trees and use their imaginations.
- Let them be bored – Kids may whine when they have “nothing to do,” but boredom is necessary and functional for helping kids build skills like creativity, problem-solving and flexibility. So let them be bored and figure out how to entertain themselves, it’s good for them and saves you from playing Uno for the hundredth time this week.
- Eat meals together – It may feel impossible to actually sit down at the table to eat together when your family is going in all different directions, but if you can make it happen, you should. According to Stanford Children’s Health, family meals teach kids the importance of sharing responsibilities, it’s where they learn table manners and communication skills, like being patient while waiting for a sibling to finish talking.
- Watch some TV together – The days of everyone sitting around the TV to watch prime time programming together are gone, but if you can find a show or movie your entire family can agree on, make it happen. And when you do, put down your phone and pay attention, your kids will notice.
- Parents should have social lives – If you feel like your weekends revolve around kids’ games, birthday parties and recitals, you’re not alone. And while those are important, so is getting to enjoy some kid-free time with other grown-ups. So reclaim some of your evenings and weekend time for one-on-one date nights, meeting friends for dinner and other kidless social gatherings with your adult friends.