play
I’m not sure why, but every time I visit the dentist for a cleaning I find myself with my mouth wide open, her hands working inside my mouth, when she asks me questions that require more than a nod or shake of my head for an answer.

On a recent visit, the first question she asked me – after starting to clean my teeth – was what my son was going to do this summer.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“Is he going to play tball? Soccer? Swim team?” she responds.

“Oh,” I say. “No, he’ll be playing a vintage sport. One that was quite popular about 30 years ago. We’re trying our best to bring it back in to style”.

“Really??” … she’s very intrigued …

Call me crazy, but the kid is five. Does he really need a line-up of activities to keep him busy all summer long? And do I really need/want to spend my time in my car trotting him from one practice to another? One game to another?

The answer, my friends, is hell no.

We’ve decided to live by a few rules in our house that have served us just fine so far. One is regarding outside activities. When, and only when, he asks to participate in an organized sport, an individual sport or an activity will we sign him up. Last summer he asked to play t-ball and soccer. We told him he could choose one of the two, but not both. He chose t-ball. This summer he hasn’t asked to play any sports.

I figure when he gets a bit older he’ll be much more interested in these kinds of things – so until then, we focus on what my husband and I focused on when we were five. That old-time sport called play. You know … outside with friends. With neighbors. With us.

Along the lines of play, we find ourselves struggling with the television thing. How much is too much? Our son could watch that box all day and night if you let him. So we allow it in the morning while he’s eating breakfast, and then occasionally again in the evening right before we start the bedtime routine. One of our other rules is that if it’s nice outside, the TV must be turned off. That doesn’t mean that he needs to play outside. Sometimes he prefers to stay inside, which is fine. But staying inside means finding a craft project or some other activity to entertain himself … but no TV.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not here to judge those families who do sign their kids up for all kinds of activities and sports. I know plenty of families who do so and enjoy themselves immensely. Nor am I judging anyone who allows their kids to watch hours of television. All I’m saying is that it’s not for our family.

One of our other rules is concerning birthday parties … but I’m afraid that’s a whole other post in and of itself!

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