I am rapidly having to become a little less British in some of my parenting methods….and I’ve never even considered myself a “helicopter” parent or one that prevents my child from climbing too much. However, there is always a point when some things need to be reined in, but in Sweden I’m discovering this is even later than I would have in the UK, and I would have suffered several eye rolls from other parents in playgrounds in the UK, and tutts! One of the biggest reasons for moving to Sweden was the way they unfailingly let children be children. They don’t expect them to be quiet in places, they don’t expect them to sit still, and they certainly don’t stop them climbing things. The above photo was taken from a picture collage from förskola (they send one at the end of every week), and these are my 2 cheeky monkeys sitting on top of the playhouse at the local park (I’ve had to crop the rest of the collage, but there is a house next to it with three more monkeys sat on top of it!). They had taken the whole group of children for a 20 minute walk there as an adventure for the day. My point is though, had the boys climbed on top of play houses in the UK, they might very well have been told to get down, whereas here they are given fewer boundaries.
Our little lady is finding this too at school, as I walked up to get her today there was a boy lying across the top plank of the swing frame, while the girls are merrily swinging away underneath him!! They have what I would call a basket swing too there, and every morning she joins her little friends on it, and there are at least 6 of them, and they have one stood on either side, and the rest sat in various positions legs over the edge, swinging the thing to its highest point! Although we obviously read and researched before moving here, I still can’t quite believe that it all does actually happen! This is so refreshing, especially for our mini men who are very physical, very fast movers, who love to climb and push themselves to the limit….and here, they are allowed to do just that (a BIG reason we couldn’t face sending them to school back in the UK as I am sure it wouldn’t have been long until at least one would have been labelled “disruptive” despite just being a normal boy). It is also good for our little lady who has always been slightly more reserved and cautious. Since she’s had her mad twin brothers, they have pushed her to push herself a little more, but now I think she feels a whole heap freer to do so, and being a little older, she can understand previous constraints and rules don’t exist and she can just be herself and a child. I know she’s so far been quite giggly in class (having, and being allowed to have, fun), had a little tap dance next to her desk whilst mulling something over (which gained a lot of curious glances so she explained what tap dancing was – something not really done in Sweden), and I’ve gone up to find her after school still in the classroom playing a game with 2 classmates, all of them in no hurry. Let the monkeys be monkeys, and allowed to feel normal, and it is clear you get the focus and work from them at the time you want it 🙂