Thursday, 22 October 2009

Now there are guidelines

with respect to food and exercise for the very young. They are splashed all over the third page of the paper this morning. There is a nice big picture of three children sitting in a row crunching on the requisite apples. Hmmm.
I have no arguments with the apples. It is not their fault. I rather like apples (although I will give those Fuji types a miss). And, not being a parent, I am uncertain about the value of whole raw apples to the very young. I would be inclined to avoid them until a child has learned to chew properly. But, these are the guidelines so they must be right. This is, after all, the government telling us what to do and how to behave.
The guidelines apparently say that a child should not be restrained for more than an hour a day in a car seat or a high chair. That will surely prevent most travelling to and from day-care of any sort - unless of course they plan to put the child on a starvation diet. That may be the idea as they keep saying children are too fat. The guidelines also say that the child should not be expected to clear their plate. There was nothing there about how much food should be put on the plate.
Then there is the issue of television, or rather - no television. The guidelines say the very young should not see television. I am not sure how you avoid this, especially given that many households own more than one set and give them a rigorous workout each day. (We own one. It gets a workout for about an hour each day, sometimes less.) The guidelines say you should give the child sand and rice to play with and encourage them to beat a stuffed sock with a rolled up newspaper. (I played with dirt and water outside. If I had beaten anything my mother would have beaten me. )
I am puzzled by the absence of references to dolls, cars, blocks, construction kits, wheeled toys and balls for outdoors and Playschool - surely the substitute for the Listen with Mother "are you sitting comfortably" programme of my childhood? Apparently these things are no longer part of the life of the very young. Worse yet, sitting still for just an hour - if taken up with the other necessities of life, will not allow time for the delights of being read to or reading to oneself. Perhaps they plan to ban books. Books were not mentioned.
This is however "Parenting made easy:101". No doubt it will be welcomed by some. I suspect most parents will fail it. As a godparent I am grateful that my gochildren are older than this. I would have dismally failed "Goparenting made easy:101". My godchildren appear to be thin, active, healthy and happy. They have very inquiring minds. Their parents and I obviously did something very wrong indeed.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if I should tell my kids, now grown up, I didn't follow the guidelines for raising children?
Judy B

catdownunder said...

Ah, so you did all the wrong things and the children turned out to be good citizens Judy? It's a worry! :-)

Adelaide Dupont said...

Apples are very acidy. It would be better to avoid the acid for very young stomaches, especially in the morning.