And the winner for The Most Awesome Childhood goes to… 90’s Kids!!!
I grew up in the 90’s and I can confirm that we, indeed, had an awesome childhood. It was a blissful fusion of loud outdoor fun, scheduled TV shows, Tetris mastery, rented movies, girl groups, boy bands, and non-stop Macarena.
Ah, the bittersweet nostalgia of the simple analog life…
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the usefulness and convenience of gadgets and the internet. I mean, being able to find what you need anytime from anywhere is absolutely incredible! Plus, you just can’t have too much Kdrama, right?
I do allow some Netflix and YouTube, but only for about 2 to 3 hours a day. I just don’t want my kids to be little digital zombies who are glued to their gadgets all day long.
So, without further ado, here are a few stuff from the 90’s which I think we should definitely practice in 2020:
1. Outside is the Best Side
When we were kids, we’d spend the whole day outside. My friends and I did all sorts of stuff like playing with bugs, digging up the soil, bathing in the rain, climbing trees, and sculpting mud. We’d go home sweaty, stinky, and covered in dirt. Nevertheless, we were happy kids.
Kids these days are spending less and less time outdoors. It’s sad and also alarming because a lot of studies show numerous negative effects of the decrease in outdoor activities – mostly because the kids are busy watching TV or playing on their gadgets.
So, when it’s nice outside, I make sure that my kids go out and play. It gives them the chance to explore their natural environment and have great adventures.
They can run as fast as they can. They can be as loud as they want!
Sure, they might stumble or trip or fall – but they’ll learn to be careful next time. Just make sure to keep your reassuring words and soothing arms at the ready.
My son’s favorite outdoor activities include doodling on the sand using a stick and just chillin’ on a pile of rocks. Lol!
2. Patience Needs Practice
When I was little, our parents usually bought just one toy to be shared by me, my brother, and my cousins. There was only one bike, one Tetris, one yo-yo, one slinky, and one Tamagotchi. I’d watch them play, irritated, because it seemed like forever until it was my turn again…
But, however irritated I was for having to wait for so long, I STILL WAITED. We all understood that we’re supposed to be patient and take turns.
These days, instant gratification is the new trend. It’s basically the “I want something; and I want it right now!” kind of attitude, which is what I see in most of the kids nowadays.
This is quite an issue, for me, as a parent. I consider patience as an invaluable tool which will help my kids when they reach adulthood. That’s why I’m quite persistent in helping them learn.
I recently started with small doses of delayed gratification. Let me explain…
Say, my daughter asked for milk and cookies. I don’t rush off to give it to her ASAP. Instead, I’d ask her to come with me to the kitchen. I’ll let her choose the mug, pour the milk, and put the cookies on the plate. That way, she understands that when she asks for something, she needs to be patient and wait until mommy is done preparing her request.
3. Boredom is the Mother of Invention
When I first became a parent, I thought it was absolutely necessary and 100% my job to keep my kids entertained. Like, ALL THE TIME!
When I have stuff to do, I’d scramble to give them toys, books, or anything to keep them busy – you know, so they won’t get bored. Most of the time, I end up turning the TV on or giving them my phone.
However, back in the 90’s, I didn’t have a lot of toys and I wasn’t allowed to touch the TV. Lol! So, I experimented a little bit with my kids and made an amazing discovery…
I’ve realized that boredom is healthy for kids!
When I left my kids with nothing in front of them, they were somehow forced to entertain themselves. They started using their imagination!
Just the other day, my daughter kept asking me to get the “school bus” from the top shelf. But, she was pointing at an old plastic basket. So, I had to confirm if she was referring to the basket… she said yes! I was still clueless as to why she kept calling it the “school bus”.
It only became clear to me when she put the basket upside-down on the table, put her toothbrush in (the driver), and started pushing it around while singing “the wheels on the bus…”
I was like, “Aaaaaah!! It IS a school bus!!”
4. Reusing is Caring
Anyway, 20 years later, I realized that 90’s moms had, in fact, the right idea all along. By having these reusable plastic containers, their plastic waste was little to none. Totally awesome!
Meanwhile in 2020, single-use plastics are everywhere!
Picture this: Theme park day! Kids got hungry, so, you bought snacks, water bottles, and a huge cup of iced tea. You also got 2 packs of the chocolate chip cookies. Yum! Now, let’s identify the disposable plastics in those purchases: food containers, spoons, forks, bottles, cup, straw, and plastic packs. These plastic items seem harmless and it didn’t even bother you that you threw away all those plastic in one day.
Well, throwing them away in the trash doesn’t make them go “away”. These plastics go somewhere. Most of the time they end up somewhere they shouldn’t and it has a devastating effect on our oceans, wildlife, and even our health.
Hence, whenever I can, I promise to pack food in reusable containers and fill up reusable water bottles. This way, we’re sure that our food is clean and we don’t contribute to the plastic pollution anymore.
5. Less Toys, More Play
Back in the 90’s, we only received new toys during our birthdays, Christmas, or when we get good grades. If we’re lucky, we get pasalubong from our Balikbayan uncles and aunties. There’s also the occasional Balikbayan box from our relatives abroad. Thus, we adore our toys so much!
Nowadays, most homes are taken over by toys! It starts with a toy you bought at the mall. Followed by the toys you ordered online. Add up the (500) gifts from the excited grandparents. And lastly, the gifts they received on their birthdays and during the Holidays.
Before you know it, the house is overflowing with naked Barbie dolls, wheel-less trucks, and thousands of Legos. Sounds familiar? I feel you!
With my toddlers, I noticed 2 main problems of having too many toys:
- They don’t fully appreciate each toy because there are so many other toys to play with. It seems that they lack focus – I’d say they are “distracted” with all the choices in front of them.
- They don’t take care of their toys. I guess they don’t value each toy because there is always a replacement close by.
When I took away most of the toys and left (what I think) are their favorites, I noticed they played with them a lot longer than before. The kids even played with each other – like, without fighting! It’s a miracle!
I’d also advice a Toy Rotation scheme. Start with storing 60% to 70% of their toys. Change the toys which are available for play every week. This way, there are new and exciting toys to play with every week!
Also, they will definitely look for their favorites. Well, there’s no problem in having “permanent toys”. Besides, our goal is for them to appreciate and take care of each toy. By remembering and missing a favorite toy, we have achieved our goal. Job well done!
Are you a 90’s kid too? Do you have fond memories about your childhood which you want your kids to experience as well? Let me know in the comments below…
Til next time,