When my daughter turned 1, my parents bought her a Little Mermaid tent. She loved it. She could crawl inside and be all by herself and play with her stuffed animals. The first time I crawled in I was a little shocked…the only thing I could see was a giant half naked girl with a shell push up bra staring back at me!
When High School Musical first came out, and every living and breathing middle school girl was in love with Zac–I was at WalMart and saw a little girl about 5 years old wearing a High School Musical shirt. It stared at her because it was so incongruous. She was probably not even in kindergarten and she already liked a movie about High School so much she wanted the shirt?! Granted, she probably had older siblings. I know, there wasn’t any kissing in the movie. Yeah, it’s Disney. But a five year old wearing a HIGH SCHOOL shirt?
One of my friends was telling me about a mom she knew with a three year old. She said the three year old knew every word to the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift and “isn’t that cute?!” We both looked at each other and said, “No. Not really. He’s three.” (Of course, that mom wasn’t there so really the conversation may have leaned toward the gossip-y side…)
Why do we feel the need to push our kids into age groups older than them? Why can’t we let little kids be little kids? I don’t want my three year old watching OR desiring to watch Hannah Montana. I don’t want her listening to or WANTING to listen to the new pre-teen pop star. I want her to stay a child as long as possible. I want her to be naiive to the things of this world. To be innocent about sin. To be soft and pliable for as long as possible.
In Song of Solomon, King Solomon’s lover tells the women of Jerusalem, “Don’t stir up love. Don’t wake it up until it’s ready.” Our society has pushed our kids to awaken love too early—and not just love or sexuality, but just grown up stuff! And then when they are 10 and 12 and want to go to the movies with a boy and are copping attitudes with us, we wonder why!
For me, I am protecting my kids from grown up stuff. I’m trying to keep them childish as long as possible. And I know I might be a little strict but, here are some of the things I do…
- We watch kids’ shows. Old school kids shows even.
- We do NOT watch shows geared to elementary kids or adults. Period.
- We listen to kids’ music. Not elementary school kids music. Preschool music.
- We don’t talk about boyfriends, high school or “big kid” stuff like it’s something we’re missing out on.
HOWEVER, instead of making these a RULE that she has to follow, it’s more of an unspoken way of behavior. We watch kids’ shows and she loves them. We listen to preschool music and when my husband turns on his “cool” music, she doesn’t like it. She talks about having a husband and being a mom. It’s just the way it is–we make it desirable AND then it IS desirable.
It’s your turn! How do you keep your kids KIDS? What age appropriate things do you purposely do with your kids?
ps–this post was inspired by a great post I read at Modern Mami’s this week…