What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10Find out more
What makes a childhood idyllic?(23 Posts)
Just reading about Kate & Pippas idyllic country childhood, which sounds too perfect for words, lots of nature walks, skiing once a year, baking regularly with Carole & lots of arts & crafts! Im just wondering in your opinion what makes a childhood idyllic, like Enid Blyyon style perfect? Does it really exist? Dh & I Wang to give our little girl the best childhood we can within our limitations- living in a large city with limited open space nearby plus financial restrictions too with Dd2 on the way!
I think freedom, nature, loving involved parents, peers to play with nearby and time.
I think a lot of my life is spent rushing and unplanned time to just go with the flow is very precious. I was off work with the kids last week and it was lovely to just doodle about.
I think it's hard living in the city and hard living in the country...not enough space in the city and not enough independent social life in the country. I think my kids are very very lucky to live in a suburb with a beautiful canal at the top of the road, nearby parks/woods/facilities and 'proper' countryside 10 minutes drive one way and city centre 10 minutes drive the other way
I'm trying to give my kids as much freedom to roam as possible-it is heart in the mouth stuff though!.
I think having parents who are present and interested in them. Being patient with them (not easy!). Giving them time outdoors and teaching them to appreciate and respect nature and animals. Whenever we are outdoors our boys love it and the sense of freedom it gives them is amazing. Going for lots of nature walks.
Having a stable loving home. I think having a constant family home to ground them is hugely important. Somewhere they can not only call 'home' but feel at home and safe.
Baking/ cooking with them if the enjoy it. Our DS1 loves it, DS2 just wants to eat the finished product!!!
Putting children to bed rather than sending them to bed. I love talking to them on their beds and giving them one on one time. It's a real time to show affection and talk about the day and lets them know you are interested in them as individuals.
Doesn't have to be expensive stuff. Just teaching them about the world and showing them things that amaze them.....DS1 loves the stars and anything to do with space so we have a telescope (cheap £10 thing from Tesco but it works well) set up for him and he can show us things. DS2 is amazed by Autumn at the minute, just crunching in the leaves is amazing to a toddler. It's easy to always be in a rush trying to get place but taking time to let them be amazed at simple things is always good if you can.
I think freedom and being outdoors (a bit like enid blyton :-) goes a long way to making childhood memorable. I had a lot of freedom as a child (lots of it by default as I'd say I was playing out front but would then head off for adventures, walking for miles with friends, and my elder sisters would help me adjust my watch so I could pretend (lie!) and say it had stopped working etc...). My mum would have had a fit if she knew how far I wondered aged 7 and of the places we went (woods, the local river, accross the dual carraigeway to sneak through a fence into private woodland... (risks everywhere!)
I have great memories of all the dens and tarzan swings we built (in places were weren't allowed to be!) Of all the games we played with kids of all ages (3 up to 17) in our local area (long summer nights while we all played 'two man hunt' etc) and going to our local youth club disco nights every saturday (where my sister used to DJ and I felt super cool :-D
I didn't do the home baking thing with myfolks (but I do it with DS1 and will do with DS2 when he's older) but I agree that parent time is very important, I used to spend every saturday with my dad (walking with him to the shop, playing in park, having cake together after he went to the bookies), we played cards together as a family every sunday and we always had dogs and cats to play with. I had 4 siblings, so a big family, very little money, but I had such fun.
I have incredibly (pink-tinted?) lovely memories of my childhood. I'd love my kids to have the same kind of exploring childhood I did, but not sure you can manage that in todays society (everyone seems to ferry their kids about all the time and there is so much fear).
I do intend doing stuff with them that I never had though (lots of family holidays and weekends away etc, day trips to the beach (really close to where we live so we're very lucky). I want them to remember all the fun stuff we do so their memories of childhood are as good s mine.
DS1 has a photo album and whenever we get pics printed out of family meals or days at park etc, he looks through them and picks ones he wants for his album, and he like to get it out and talk through it all with us - reliving it all, and as said, fun doesn't have to be expensive, flying a kite in the park, playing hide and seek in the house, turning tables and sheets into dens and pirate ships and police cars, picnics in the garden, none of it pricey, all of it fun.
Two loving parents who are consistent and loving with their children.
That's it. Everything else is just a bonus.
Pah! I once spent the evenings with two friends. One had what most people would considre a idyllic childhood (not dissimilar to kate and Pippa's) the other grew up on a massive council estate in Middlesborough. Both came from well adjusted, caring families.
One loved their childhood ...the other was "bored" and hated what others would consider an idyllic childhood.
I always think the most perfect time of my DCs' childhoods is when we are all sitting round the table really laughing together, at a shared joke or story. I hope they will remember little moments like that, all the family together, happy and healthy.
Knowing your parents love you and want to spend time with you.
To be nurtured and encouraged in anything you want to do.
Help and support when you are struggling. Showing an interest in your future plans, giving advice and boosting self esteem.
Always finding the time to be with you, to show empathy and sympathy when you need it.
Practical things including crafts, music, baking, gardening, reading to them and listening to them read. Giving homework support, playing games, conversation.
An idyllic childhood ~ Realising your parents did this and so much more because they chose to, not because you were born to them but because they wanted you so badly and went through so much to be able to give you their love. I'm snivelling again.
A supportive family and nice surroundings are wonderful, but no part of life is idyllic. There will always be boredom and injustice and fear of things that your parents won't be able to make OK for you. That's a good thing IMO, you need light and shade.
We took toddler dd out for a nighttime stroll this evening, all wrapped up. Local park is all lit up, and we even went down on the beach and playee in the sand. She kept saying "hello Mr Moon" and "oooh, nice a dark!".
Pretty idyllic, I hope, even though theres little chance of her remembering it.
We dont do much baking / craft stuff yet but she isnt two yet so that will come.
Love and patience are undeniably key but there's little point in pretending that finances don't play a big part in it.
Giving your children time depends on not having to work all hours, patience depends on not being exhausted from never having a break.
Living in cramped conditions, in a noisy, unpleasant built up area with few facilities for children, without being able to afford a car and working long hours on top of that must make it harder for both parents and children (I imagine, I don't pretend to know first hand).
No amount of love can make up for the conditions that many children have to endure. Doubt Kate/Pippa would know much about that though.
Million pram, we are probably in the minority but I do think finances play a huge part. My own childhood wasn't the idyllic childhood I want for my own Dds, it was the 80s my dad was unemployed more often than not, my mother had a great job but worked really long hours to keep our heads above waters. My grandmother who I was extremely close to took care of my brother & I while mam worked. To this day ny mother is the best mother & grandmother in the world & I would be lost without her. What Im saying is we had loads of love but no holidays, no family weekends, no meals out etc.... I agree with the other posters re open space & exploration as being v important in creating happy childhood memories, as well as constant positive communication with parents..
Following on from a thread on chat about happy childhoods I did a search & came across this, very interesting. Anyone have any other thoughts, I had a quite an unhappy childhood so trying to get as much info as I can from people of my generation so I can do my best for my dc even though it will never be like Kate & Pippa's!!!
At a very basic level I think it's about being in a safe and peaceful environment free from stress, anger, chaos and violence etc., both in and outside the home. So you might have a happy home life but you might be in the middle of a war zone, or you might live in a town that's safe and calm, but have to cope with (or witness) awful abuse at home.
It's about the gift of innocence lasting for exactly as long as it should. Too many children lose their innocence far too young because they have been let down by the adults who are supposed to protect them.
It's about having your basic physical and emotional needs always taken care of, never having to assume the role of the grown-up because the grown-ups are all being a bit useless. It's about knowing there are boundaries and that people really care if you breach them. It's about feeling secure in the knowledge that the adults around you are in control, they have your back and will put your needs before their wants.
They are the basics, without which it's not really possible for a childhood to be idyllic, even if you have a paddock and a pony and your own apple tree to climb and a lifetime's supply of homemade cookies.
Then there are the add-ons; the cherries on the cake. Lovely grandparents, lovely siblings, lots of friends, parents with no major money worries and plenty of time to be with you, freedom to play and explore outside in safety, pets, huge gardens, comforting routines, memorable family days and bucket and spade holidays, endless summers playing outside until it got dark, all that stuff.
I didn't have it, my children did. I don't expect them to really realise or appreciate that for a few years yet, though.
I know people whose parents have not had much money but they still remember their childhoods as being idyllic, because they were protected from any stress and their parents always had lots of time for them, and devoted their lives to doing things for, and with them. It's certainly harder to do that when there is a lack of money, but it's not impossible. The flip side is that plenty of children from very affluent families with all the material trappings, holidays, big houses etc., feel isolated, ignored, depressed and miserable because their parents are so focused on working to accumulate more stuff and better 'security' that they don't see the damage they are doing by just not being there enough.
Loving, enthusiastic parents spending quality time with their children. I was so lucky to have 2 teachers as parents, summers were just fantastic endless days full of activities (often free and educational but fun)
I am sad that I won't be able to replicate this but really hoping I can apply for school time working hours in a few years !
I would say feeling safe, being valued as an individual, wanted by both parents, feeling that you are not a nuisance is a good start.
Obviously there are other things that could make childhood idyllic eg holidays, days out, playing games together, baking, theatre/cinema trips etc etc but also sometimes doing what the child wants
Generally anything that puts the kids into contact with mud! Dog walking, jumping in puddles, climbing trees, den building, lambing, apple and blackberry picking etc....
Tsarina- might be worth pming the OP and see if she's still around, and looking for her idyll?
I don't want an idyllic childhood for mine; all the really interesting and truly strong people I know had tough childhoods. Not saying I want my DC to suffer but I want them aware of how some people have to live, how some do suffer.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.