Better get going on the Childhood Bucket List!

childhood bucket list

How important is it to involve your children in everything you consider to be childhood-related from the youngest possible age?? Having just missed both Halloween and Fireworks Night I’m feeling a bit deflated after reading and hearing about so many seasonal activities from so many friends and other bloggers. I have friends who have been taking their four year old to amusement parks and trick or treating (at age 2), and motor shows, museums, golf, cinema trips and even a science centre at age three (which I was told was suitable for kids from about 7). I’m not in any way saying that any of this is a bad thing, I’m just trying to understand why we haven’t done any of this stuff and figure out whether its because I’m just a lazy mum or whether I can actually justify this by saying its too much too soon for us. Kids will have time to experience all these kinds of things after the age of four and on throughout their childhoods won’t they?

I also think that its much more likely that EJ (or any second or subsequent child) will experience things more advanced than their developmental level much earlier than they would have done otherwise simply because of the fact that they will be ‘along for the ride’ with their older sibling.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve done the seaside, children’s farms, Peppa Pig World, Legoland, we even took JJ with us to Menorca for our honeymoon (there was an onsite creche!). So its not like we haven’t done stuff but its just been chosen with the ‘tiny tot’ age in mind.

I’m sure I read something recently about people who are so excited about having a child that they whip out the childhood ticklist immediately, ending up at a zoo with a 6-month-old baby who turns out to be more interested in a one-legged pigeon than the rhino hanging around behind it. (Having said that I did take JJ along on a zoo trip aged 9 months but it was a trip organised by our local baby group so I guess its not unusual!).

Now I’m beginning to wonder if parents of the future won’t write a ‘bucket list’ for their kids as they slip into adulthood and get them started early with a tandem parachute jump (aged 15), a trip to Everest base camp (aged 16) and a five-star weekend at the Ritz (aged 17). They’ll hit their 30s and there’ll be nothing left to do but sit and watch mindless telly for the next 4 decades…

Right now I’m just glad that the seasonal stuff is almost over – oh, then there’s Christmas!!! I can safely say that JJ will be more excited about Santa’s imminent arrival than ever before this year so I’ll make every effort to make it as special as possible for him. I just wish I had a week child and work free so I could get my head round the shopping, organising, stocking filling, decorating and…erm..baking?? (Ha Ha Ha! ((as opposed to Ho Ho Ho in this context!).

Is there anything you wish you’d done with your children younger or feel guilty about them missing out on? Should I be planning that trip to the National Gallery/Natural History Museum within the next six months so that my children get some culture rubbed off on them (possible screaming, tantrums, over-tiredness/hunger/boredom aside)? I’d love to get some comments on this subject…

6 thoughts on “Better get going on the Childhood Bucket List!

  1. I like the way you say very sensible things that maybe other people think they shouldn’t say.

    I am happy that I didn’t do so much with my kids when they were younger. I didn’t have so much money then and rather than feel stressed about spending too much, we stayed in. Once they got older and I thought we’d be able to remember doing things together, we started to do more and enjoy sharing those memories.

    I wish I’d been more relaxed and able to enjoy things when they were younger, but that’s a different issue. Also I had no close friends to hook up with and I guess I do miss the memories of enjoying a day out en masse. But that’s it really.

    Just seven miles down the road tonight is the mother of all bonfires. But I am in emailing my boss about the number of over and underachievers in Year 11.

  2. I just think people do whatever they feel comfortable with overall, and when it comes to small children (especially when you have more than one) there are lots of factors to consider. Not everyone wants to cart their kids around museums, etc because it can be really stressful. Also if they are at work during the week then the weekends are very precious, and it can feel like those 48 hours disappear in the blink of an eye when you overdo it, meaning everyone goes to work/school/nursery super grumpy come Monday morning. Rather than be a cultural experience it can be a nightmare. There are also cost considerations, not everyone has the money for endless trips here and there. (one thing I would say on these trips though is I don’t pay any attention to ‘age appropriateness’ as one size rarely fits all. Above all else every child is totally different, and some may love the culture and soak up every drop at aged two, whereas others aren’t that interested at aged five and would rather be in their back garden or the local park making mud pies.

    I know one mum who had her three year old learning the violin, and she was playing in recitals before her fourth birthday. I know other mums who take their kids to after school activities almost every single day (aged four). I’ve been to birthday parties where the mum has gone all out for it to be the VERY best, and others where it’s super low key… everyone is different. To be honest, I think people should just do what works best for their own family, and not get too caught up in what others are doing.

  3. Haha!

    I am completely crap at doing stuff like that with the kids. It helps that they are terrified of fireworks (my fault, bad experience with Spanish fiestas), but most Important Cultural Things I try to drag them along to end up in tears (if not theirs, then mine).

    So I’ve kind of given up on stuff like that. Instead we have fantastic days out in north Norfolk, exploring Felbrigg estate, playing on the 2p machines in Sheringham arcades, rambling around villages and beaches. Sometimes we pack a picnic, sometimes we go the pub for lunch.I can’t really be bothered to feel guilty about it anymore. Not since we had an amazing day in August, looking around medieval choirboy graffiti in Salthouse church (yes, I know how insufferably ‘Octavia! Willow! Eat your gluten free organic rice cakes darlings!’ that sounds, but it is really cool), wandering up on the heath, then a picnic on top of a pillbox on the beach.

    Our day out at the Muckleburgh collection wasn’t to my taste, but everyone else enjoyed it (tank and army vehicle museum). I think children react to the reaction of their parents. If we’re excited and enthusiastic, they will be too. Although sometimes they are just really annoying too, and decide to hate everything. Go back a day later and they will be enchanted. But basically, in my experience, kids don’t need to be wowed.A picnic in a forest is sufficiently out of the norm to be fun. Getting an ice cream from a van on the beach is fun. Going to the park after school, when your friends are there is great. I think we beat ourselves up too much with what we feel we should be doing, when really, if you look back on your own childhood, it wasn’t the holidays and special events that made it, it was the everyday treats.

    • Sounds like you do some great stuff! I’m not saying that I wouldn’t do picnics, beaches, and transport museums etc, (the cheaper things) because of course I would (and my friend who I mentioned who does everything with her son is the biggest bargain hunter and very organised so she gets all the best deals and nothing full price!), but its more the relentless nature of doing the exact right thing at the exact right time of year – I keep feeling like “oh well, that’s another XYZ occasion finished without me getting around to organising anything for the kids”. But like my sister says they are unlikely to remember much before the age of four anyway. I guess that means that this is the coming year when I need to get my act together for JJ’s sake!!

  4. My feeling, from my limited experience is that a small child needs time to make sense of the ordinary world for quite a while so why worry about exposing them to the extraordinary in a hurry. My 15 month old boy is excited about the supermarket having a lot of helium balloons over the till or the sudden appearance of a labrador on the footpath. Why do I need to dash to the Science Museum or the zoo? Of course its important to broaden his horizons in the end. However, I’m not sure I risk stunting his development by calibrating what we do with him to the level of keeping him interested rather than trying to gob-smack him. Obviously having an older sibling would make that a different ballgame though….

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