In between packing, we went to Oakwood Theme Park yesterday with the usual gang and a new addition: Chloe’s dad. He drove up from London. Shout out to newbie rollercoaster Oakwood rider, my cousin Krystian! Heard him start laughing as we made the inverted turn on Speed like a crazed animal. It made me laugh too.
Without trying to sound rude to my cousin, he’s a bit of a London stress-head. Those people who hate living in the city but won’t move to the countryside either. I mean, what do you do with these people? I know. Take ‘em to the rollercoasters. Ancient oak trees, Welshies who like to gently tease each other. It’s urban respite with adrenaline.
Chloe’s dad doesn’t like Chloe being on her device much either. I get the feeling he thinks we’re a bad influence because Chloe’s been on her device. Without being told off for it. People who are strict with their kid’s screen time seem like Morse code for people who don’t necessarily spend time with their children. They may work hard and judge their own importance by their own work. And have equal high expectations of what their children should do.
These people look at me disdainfully as if saying, ‘If I could spend as much time with my kids as you spend, I wouldn’t let them on a single device. They’d be playing the violin while writing their thesis and solving child poverty. Here you are, giving them almost unlimited screen time because it makes them happy and you drag them to the park once a day. What a waste.’
Yep. Still, I love my family. The old ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ brigade. No dollar making, no value shaking. Oh well. I can take them to Oakwood though and remind them what it’s like to be a kid. Screen time might be the bane of the parent’s life, but is it really that big a deal? We spent the same amount of time watching tv in the Eighties. Didn’t hurt us either – until we started working. Then what – screen time equals wasting time?
Spending so much time with my kids allows me to understand that time flows differently for them. Kid time seems to be measured by happiness rather than by minutes. Luckily, Oakwood is there to remind us.