I watched this on ABC last night, which was very insightful and confirmed for me why I am reluctant to put my three and a half year old in structured dance classes. I often feel like a bad parent for not enrolling her in everything available in our area. Ballet, jazz, physi, music classes etc. Firstly since I work during the week, it means missing out on a chunk of our weekend. But I was also reminded last night that it is also beneficial to my children to let them play freely and not impose too much structure on them.
At the moment they each go to day care for 2 days a week each. Their centre has a wonderful learning philosophy which centres around self directed play and discovery, while they still learn to be part of a larger group. When they are home with me I am quite often working. I feel guilty that I am at my computer while they are trashing the house. The thing is that they actually really enjoy themselves. Of course they want me to take notice of what they are doing and sometimes take part, but for a great deal of the time they (especially Scarlett who is having a wonderful impact on Xavier) enjoy creating their owns imaginary games with objects from around the house or yard.
While I have often thought that this has been terribly convenient for me, I also know it is really important for their development. I want to raise children who are confident in their own decisions, who are resilient and thoughtful. It’s easy to be idealistic when they are still so young. I hope I have the conviction to live up to my intentions when they are older. The program featured Lenore Skenazy’s talking about her blog post Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone. I admire her for her attitude and hope that I will able to trust my children enough to let them be so independent at such a young age. That said, I sometime have this strange fear of other people taking my children which will obviously have to be addressed!
My favourite quote in the doco when Hara Estroff Marano when she said “a little benign neglect is good”. That just made my day!