Great Britain awoke this morning to the news of more Corbyn Carnage and the sweetly optimistic musings of Laura Kenney (Olympic cycling superhero and expectant mum). She and her husband have just announced that all games consoles will be banned from their house i.e. nixing the opportunity for their child to, ‘sit on the sofa all day.’
Whilst it’s a noble thing to say, and part of me really does applaud her, reality has a habit of coming back and biting the bums of expectant mothers and their happy delusions. What’s the betting she’ll look back on this in a few years’ time and cringe?
In 2011 I banned all electronics around Emily, including televisions. For the first two years of her life I was so allergic, so rigid in my belief, that I’d squeak and run out of the room with her if anyone so much as hovered by the ‘on’ switch. Then I fell pregnant with Jess and suffered crippling morning sickness for nine months straight. I could barely move from the sofa, let alone entertain an inquisitive toddler. Pretty soon Emily had developed a healthy obsession with Postman Pat and Rory The Racing Car. But has it damaged her irreparably? Is she overweight?
Moderation is key here, Laura. If I may be so bold as to call you that. What happens if Daddy Kenney decides to go off on a 40-mile bike ride one sunny Sunday afternoon, leaving you to cope with a tantruming toddler, a pile of laundry and a splitting headache? I’ll leave you to mull that over for a minute…
Proportioning blame on computer games is all too easy. In my experience, young children don’t know how to put their own shoes on, let alone switch on an electronic device. If you want to offer your child the same ‘healthy, happy childhood’ that you enjoyed then great. Fantastic. I whole-heartedly agree. Give Baby Kenney the opportunity. Offer up the football, rugby and ballet classes. See what he or she excels at. But for your own sanity don’t skimp on TV time too. Twenty minutes of TV a day won’t magically multiply the fat cells but it might just include your child in a playground discussion about Paw Patrol.
And lets not stray too much into how the NHS defines the ‘overweight’ and ‘underweight’ either. My eldest was diagnosed as ‘underweight’ last year but I’ve never seen such a healthy appetite! She can easily demolish her plate, her sister’s plate and mine in one sitting. On the flip side, a friend of mine’s son was diagnosed as ‘overweight’ but he’s the most active child in the Village.
Good parenting is all about choices, Laura. But it’s also about flexibility. Don’t flick mud at our shoes until you’ve walked in our footsteps…