At first glance, my partner Shane [ex-AFL player Shane Crawford] and I had opposite childhoods.
He was raised by a single mother in a small country town, one of three boys. I was a city slicker in a tight family unit of six. While our experiences appear vastly different, we both had a pretty simple childhood.
I remember being sent outside from a very young age to amuse myself. I’d ride my bike, play hopscotch and build forts in the garden. We spent hours on the trampoline and always had some sort of imaginary game going on with a sibling or neighbour.
Times have changed and luckily for them, our sons have every opportunity at their fingertips. We could spoil them at every turn if we desired, but we choose to keep their childhood simple too. We try to avoid a constant schedule of paid activities in the holidays or buying them all of the latest gadgets. We both believe that free time with “nothing to do” helps build creative imaginations, resilience and probably a good immune system!
If it’s not raining, the boys are pretty much outside and they rarely come inside clean. We encourage them to get dirty in the backyard, to build things with what they can find in the garden and to be active every day. When the older boys were three and five, along came twin babies so it was hard to get out and about. So due to circumstance, we spend a lot of time at home.
The upside is that a close brotherly bond was formed (of course they fight too) but not once have I heard any of the boys say “I’m bored, can we go somewhere?” To me, this is a huge achievement.
Jack and Harry were lucky to be born with an identical twin and built-in best friend, which makes play time easier, but either way they were born into an environment where we value and encourage the simple things.
When you become a parent, you want your kids to enjoy the same things you remember fondly as a child. There are many things that have remained unchanged over time, and are still just as fun now as they were back then. So here are five things from my ’80s childhood that have made a comeback in my mum life:
1. The good ol’ Australian Women’s Weekly birthday cake book.
Yes, you know the one. I’ll never forget my mum staying up late to create the amazing swimming pool with jelly in the middle! You don’t have to be a MasterChef to master the more simpler cakes in this timeless book.
2. Cheese toasties on the trampoline.
There's nothing like a good, simple toasted cheese sandwich, made with Kraft Singles. If you eat it in the cubby house, or on a trampoline it just seems to taste that bit better. Or when winning our "Kraft Singles challenge", where you try to remove the plastic off the cheese slice cleanly without leaving any cheese stuck. Mum always gave the first toastie ready to the winner. See, the simple things.
3. Icy poles/blocks/whatever you'd like to call them!
Speaking of eating, you can’t go past an icy pole on a hot summer's day (OK, it doesn't have to be only summer!). Not only is it sweet and refreshing, but it doesn’t get in the way of any other activities. Maybe a few drips down the chin, though.
4. Chalk drawing on the pavement!
You can now buy the best tubs of thick chalk that make awesome tools for being creative on the footpath. Now we can capture the masterpiece on an iPhone before the rain washes away, but it still provides hours of creativity and free entertainment. Not to mention some fun games of hopscotch or noughts and crosses.
5. The bed sheet cubby.
This never gets old! My kids make cubby houses with every sheet and blanket you can find and take over half the house. If they stay upright and you get to have a sleepover in them, even better.
In an ever-changing world, it's good to know a few things will always be the same!
What's something from your childhood that you share with your kids today? Let us know below.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Kraft Singles.
For parents, life can be complicated. That’s why sometimes it’s better to Keep it Simple, Keep it Singles. Kraft Singles, the original lunchbox favourite since 1976. Kraft has partnered with Mamamia to bring you this series of content that celebrates the simple wins in parenting and reminds you of all the fun childhood memories and special moments you can share with your own family.
#KraftSingles #KeepItSimple #KeepItSingles