• Last modified 3287 days ago (Aug. 19, 2010)


Let kids be kids

Much to parents’ delight and children’s dismay, school begins today.

It’s that time again when drivers need to be attentive to students crossing streets and children not paying attention — you know, being children.

With each passing summer, I’m even more amazed at the lack of children outdoors. It used to be the park was filled with children playing, streets were a-buzz with children riding bicycles and skateboards, kids fishing in Luta Creek, and the pool was overflowing.

Where were they this summer?

You would have been hard-pressed to find children outdoors anywhere during the day. The pool had a few children but not what you would expect on those 100-degree days.

We seem to be getting further from playing outdoors — or even in an indoor pool. I imagine the majority of youths are playing computer games, texting on cell phones, or watching television.

We’re constantly hearing about childhood obesity issues. Well, folks, that’s one of the reasons.

The other reason is the way we eat — usually on the run. I’m guilty of this. Grab a bite here, maybe a snack there. When was the last time you sat down with your family and ate a meal?

One positive note is the involvement of our children in baseball/softball programs and on swim teams.

The other extreme our society is how busy our children and grandchildren are — sports, clubs, school, friends, church. And they’re getting in the rat race when they’re 5 or 6 years old.

Being active is vital for physical and mental health but being overly busy makes all of us tired.

The real challenge for parents and grandparents is to find the balance of how children spend their time.

Sitting in front of the TV all day isn’t good but running from one sporting event or meeting to another isn’t either.

Kids need time to be kids — to ride their bikes to Luta Creek to fish for the afternoon. Or play hopscotch on a sidewalk. Or just lie in the grass and look at the stars.

Even teens need down time to do what teens do — usually involving eating, sleeping, and texting.

The beginning of a school year gives us a clean slate. Make the most of it and choose carefully.

— susan berg

Last modified Aug. 19, 2010