I recently read an article in the Telegraph about Getting Kids Cooking all about how if you want to get kids really interested in cooking and producing good food you need to take the fun out of it. Well okay not all the fun, it details how Nigella Lawson was brought up ‘helping’ her mother in the kitchen to do functional food preparation tasks, not thoroughly entertained and overpraised during the construction of the fun formation of food.
And this got me thinking, so much of childhood is now overcomplicated to the extreme by this strange unnecessary notion that children should be entertained at all times in every aspect of their lives. It doesn’t just stop with taking on a TV presenter role in the kitchen and turning out a jacket potato fashioned into a boat with vegetable baton men at the helm this need to entertain has infiltrated every aspect of a child’s life.
A simple task such as cleaning teeth is now prolonged to unbearable length because a toothbrush just isn’t a toothbrush anymore it is shaped into an animal – it has plunger feet for inconvenient attatchment to any smooth surface in the bathroom. Teeth cleaning now takes on epic proportions as a puppet show must be enacted prior even to the application of the toothpaste onto the brush.
A yoghurt.. comes in a highly coloured pot, wrapped in cardboard which doubles as a colouring sheet/educational ABC teaching aid. Eating a yoghurt now requires a box of crayons in addition to a spoon.
School shoes now take an age to put on because they are not just shoes, oh no, they are secret housing for dolls, stickers and cars. Just the simple act of putting on a shoe is now a 20 minute job.
That is just to name a few. It’s not that I want children to be miserable, it’s just I don’t think it did them any harm to just experience life as it was – simply without the ever growing expectation that a task is suddenly going to become entertaining. Life is going to seem like such a surprise as they enter adulthood.
Is the constant expectation of a child to be entertained and the constant demand on a parent to do so just getting a little bit too much? Wouldn’t it be so much more relaxing if firms could take on a ’simply childhood’ approach and produce a few items novelty free? Personally I’d be clamouring at the door to purchase them!
It does children no harm whatsoever to be bored, to experience life in a more simple form – shoe onto foot, toothbrush into mouth. Surely it would enhance their childhood – allow them to be more imaginative without having all the imagining done on their behalf.
And as a parent my life would be so much easier and surely cheaper as I wouldn’t constantly be paying for the unnecessary novelty addition.