Playing outside with friends until the street lights come on, challenging someone to a game of “I declare war” on a rainy day, watching my favorite characters on Sesame Street on a Saturday morning…
I often look back at some of my happiest experiences and things from my childhood and wish for nothing than for my children to experience the same. Sure, times have changed quite a bit – schedules are busier, there are far more distractions, etc.- but these things are all still so important!
Now that we are officially in Spring and in honor of the upcoming Earth Day, there are going to be some deliberate changes and efforts we are going to make as a family to take some time to disconnect and de-stress, while spending some quality time together, just as I got to experience in my childhood.
These are the 5 things from my childhood I insist that my kids experience:
1. A technology-free afternoon
This is a huge one! At first, it was fascinating how astute our children were nowadays with using modern day technology. I mean, my kids knew how to navigate through my iPad by the time they were 2! Now, they are glued to these things nearly 24/7! Can anyone else relate?
So, now that Spring has officially sprung and the weather is getting better, I’ve decided to start challenging them to technology-free periods throughout the day. First we get a technology-free afternoon, then maybe a day, and then, who knows, maybe we can hope to go a whole week. Ok, that might be pushing it even for me, but the point is to encourage them to engage in other activities outside of their tablets and smartphones, which is definitely doable.
2. Hours of fun outdoors
Growing up, my friends and I spent hours upon hours playing outdoors. You know…until the street lights came on (at least, that how it worked in the city). We’d ride our bikes around the neighborhood, hang out at the playground, engage in a mildly competitive game of hop scotch; just whatever fun we could get into keep us occupied and entertained.
I want my kids to experience that as well. Of course, times have changed a bit since I was a child, but I still make it a point for them to enjoy time at the playground and taking in all of the fun of playing outdoors.
3. A love of nature
This one might surprise many, considering the fact that I grew up in New York City. However, contrary to popular belief, I actually do have a pretty big love of nature -sans the bugs and allergy inducers of course. I lived really close to the Queens Botanical Garden and loved spending time over there and just taking in the beauty of Mother Nature.
My oldest, Leila, does actually really enjoy nature and gardening, in particular. She’s insisted we buy her a gardening set and a variety of seeds to plant this Spring. In honor of Earth Day this year, I’ll be planning a full on gardening day for the two of us and perhaps we can finally gain some traction on that vegetable garden I’ve dreamed about for so many years!
4. Quality Saturday morning tv
Remember how exciting Saturday mornings always were? You got to enjoy all of your favorite shows and cartoons and share a few laughs with the family. Sesame Street was always my favorite! From Big Bird to Cookie Monster to Bert and Ernie…my childhood memories are filled with happy times surrounding these times and characters. My kids have to experience that!
Fortunately, Emmy Award-winning Sesame Street and HBO have joined forces to air all new episodes as well as classic episodes from the last five seasons of the iconic series on HBO and HBO Latino! This new season will air on – you guessed it – Saturday Mornings at 9:00 am ET/8:00 am CT! At that same time, it will also air in Spanish on HBO Latino.
It’s our classic Sesame Street with a modern flair to it, as the new season will also include Sesame Street’s usual line-up of celeb guest stars including: Gwen Stefani, Ne-Yo, Pharrell Williams, Gina Rodriguez, and Lupita Nyong’o. Guess who will also be watching!
Current and past Sesame Street seasons will also air daily on HBO Family at 8 a.m., while the last five seasons will be available to stream on HBO Now, HBO Go and HBO On Demand.
Here’s the cutest little preview of the upcoming season:
5. More than enough mommy and me time
Last, but certainly not least, I insist that my kids experience more than enough mommy and me time! This is usually just a positive side effect of all of the other things I mentioned earlier, but it takes a concerted effort nonetheless.
My mom and I were super close growing up and I can’t imagine not having the same relationship with my daughters. They get their share of time with Daddy, but sometimes they just need their mommy. Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s so important that we take the time to disconnect and spend quality time together – technology free, enjoying the outdoors, and/or enjoying some good old fashioned Saturday morning TV!