Raising My Gen Alpha Child Like It Is The 90’s

We all have different childhood experiences and we are all raised in different ways but one thing that is common in all the 90’s kids is their ideals and their emotional attachment to an entire era. 

We all have different childhood experiences and we are all raised in different ways but one thing that is common in all the 90’s kids is their ideals and their emotional attachment to an entire era. 

Let’s all agree that raising kids in the 90’s was like the wild wild west of parenting, there was no parenting manual. A lot of us grew up eating chalk and dirt; it was a care free and simpler time.

Doordarshan and no cable gave us an opportunity to go out and play, education was a lot cheaper, we had no smart phones or fancy devices. We didn’t have google to help us in our projects or to give us answers nor did we have multiple gadgets to make our life easier.

Children played on the streets and bruised themselves; we were excited about small things like eraser’s, pilot pens and new compass boxes. Getting chocolates, ice-cream’s and cake was a treat we looked forward to. We did crazy shit and there are no records of it, what happened in the 90’s, stayed in the 90’s.

Technology and the children of today

They can keep up with the latest news and they have more information on hand that can be used effectively. They also have more opportunities and multiple social media platforms to express themselves and their thoughts. I would be lying if I said Twitter or Facebook didn’t help a person accentuate their voice.

Even if we decide to take a break from technology or social media, the rest of the world is still trapped in it. You rarely see people who are not staring into their mobile phones nowadays, before eating food it’s a trend to click and post pictures on Instagram, if you go on a holiday, it is mandatory to check-in at the airport and post pictures of your trip.

While I am raising a tech savvy gen alpha kid, I am also raising a 90’s kid at heart- the one who rolls down on the grass, bruises his knees while riding a cycle, climbs trees, digs the ground in anticipation of a hidden treasure and lives his life in the moment savouring every minute of it.

Social media rather than experience and live in the moment?

Are we filming for others or living in the moment?While I raise my son I realise the world has changed a lot and we need to adapt but I also want to ensure that he doesn’t lose track of the important things and people in his life. I am glad he has access to social media but I hope he uses it effectively to help someone or to better himself.

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He enjoys his cartoons on YouTube but I also want to ensure he spends time outdoors being a wild child basking in the heat of the sun and jumping in muddy puddles during the rains.

He attends online school and talks to his friends virtually but I look forward to the time when he can run with his friends, ride his bicycle in full speed and get messy in a playground.I hope he makes memories and has deep friendships that last a lifetime, the ones he can reminisce about when he grows old.

The 90’s parenting mindset

Playing outside gives children a chance to explore nature and its joys. There is nothing better than fresh air and warm sunlight filling up your senses. Wet and windy doesn’t mean they have to stay indoors, it is fun wearing your raincoat and jumping up and down in muddy puddles. The peppa pig generation already knows that.

Outside play is very important for the child’s emotional and physical well-being. When we were younger we used to play outside for hours together and only return home at dinnertime.

Our lives were not ruled by smart phones and gadgets instead we cycled with our friends, played hide and seek, sakli and badminton. We were always scouting the neighborhood and looking for trouble. By the time we were home our shoes and clothes were covered with dirt.

The Surf excel washing powder ads are actually made for the 90’s kids, I want my child to get dirty, get bruised, roll in the grass , climb trees and dig for worms.

Get bored: Wasting time isn’t time wasted!

Boredom is good for children! It encourages imagination and creativity, it calms them inside and they get in touch with their inner self. Wasting time isn’t time wasted!

I let my child be bored! I don’t feel the constant need to keep him busy with activities, I just let him be. At times I see him roaming around aimlessly in the house and other times he reads a book or plays with his cars. I’ve noticed that he is the most creative when he is playing alone.

Even when he is playing with his cars, he arranges them in different ways, sometimes it’s a car town and sometimes it’s a garage. He reads different books and makes drawings in his art book. He arranges all the pillows of the house on the floor, puts a bedsheet on in and calls it a swimming pool, he dives into it from the sofa.

‘Children need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves’ – Dr Vanessa Lapointe

Are they ready to face rejection or loss?

How many times do we let our kids win against us? It could be a simple thing like playing Ludo or catch-catch.  When we play passing the parcel in birthday parties nowadays, each child who loses walks out with a gift. Everyone gets a gift; there are no winners or losers. In certain schools medals are given to all children who participated in the race.

Children need to be taught that things don’t come easy and we don’t win every time. What will happen when these kids go out into the real world? Are they ready to face rejection or loss?

A child needs to feel the thrill of winning but he also need to be okay with losing. It is alright to let your child win occasionally as it encourages them, the goal shouldn’t be to make them happy but to give them enough push that they don’t give up playing. This shouldn’t be the case every time though.

My kid tries his best every time to beat us in games, sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses. He is happy in our win and wants to share the joy of the winner by cheering them. He also understands that the next time it could be him who wins and others will cheer for him. Winning and losing is an integral part of life and so is dealing with loss.

Gifts are not necessarily bought from a shop, sometimes it’s a love wrapped in a handwritten letter

The 90’s kids would all agree that we got gifts and toys from our parents just a couple of times in a year especially on birthdays and occasions. However the kids nowadays have cabinets full of toys, in fact there are so many toys that there is a crunch of space sometimes.

I personally invest in a lot of educational puzzles for my kid as he quite enjoys them and we have endless number of die cast cars as he loves them. I honestly have no regrets but I make sure that I don’t overload him with everything he asks so he doesn’t stop valuing what he has.

I also occasionally gift him handmade cards and gifts made by me, he understands that these are also made out of love and are equally important as his cars.

Gifts and surprises don’t always have to be toys and expensive items; sometimes it’s a handwritten letter or a piece of rock that is decorated. Not everyone has money to afford expensive gifts, children nowadays get upset when someone gifts them a colour pencil box or a dairy milk chocolate on their birthday.

They need to understand that although it costs twenty rupees, it is still a gift and a damn good one. Well who doesn’t like eating chocolates and can’t you make the most beautiful drawings with the colour pencils?

Teach your children  to not place value in money but in feelings

When you look back at your childhood what do you remember the most? We do remember all the lovely songs of the 90’s, the tv cartoons, the wonderful jingles, the yummy food or your school life? What we remember most are the moments spent with family and friends.

I remember my dad teaching me poetries in the balcony, I remember my mom oiling my hair and I remember all the love I received. A love that is always there for me and is always within my reach, my home, my family and my parents.

I want to make memories with my child so that he knows he is always loved. I want him to look back and remember that his parents were never too busy, his mother read him books on her lap, his dad tickled him till he couldn’t stop laughing, we went for treks and to the beaches, we made handmade cards for each other’s birthday and started our own family traditions like making the Ganpati idol every year and making cartoon rangoli’s on Diwali.

I want to be his safe haven where he can return every time he feels anxious or scared in life and I want him to know that the door of his parent’s house will always be open no matter what but most of all I want him to remember that he is loved.

These are the things that make me the person I am today and I hope my child grows up to be a kind, emphatic and loving human being. I aspire to make memories with him that bring a warm fuzzy feeling in his heart when he looks back and makes him remember how loved he is and that he always has us to lean on to.

Picture Credits: Pexels

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