Raising kids now versus then – is childhood really that different?

Posted in Family.

Have things really changed that much since we were little ones running around compared to now watching our own little ones running around? Is the way we raise our kids so different from how we were raised? We’ve done the comparison – come and take a look and see if you agree!

Back in our day…

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The photo albums were fuller

There are so many things from my childhood that I still do today with my kids – backyard fires, camping trips, searching for seashells at the beach, playing with the slip ‘n’ slide in the backyard.

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But, perhaps the main thing that sets our childhoods a part is, that, while we may have done some of the same things, these memories live inside my mind and in countless photo albums stored in my parents’ living room, not on social media or on an iPhone.

The sweets were sweeter

And completely inappropriate. Remember Fags (or Fads later on)? How about Big Boss Candy Sticks?

The games were stricter

The only person who got a trophy was the child who actually won the race. Nowadays, it seems everyone is a winner. As long as you turn up, you get a trophy.

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The roads were easier to explore

Perhaps it’s just me (and my obviously incredibly laid-back parents), but we used to walk to and from school without being supervised all the time. We would play outside until dark and we would often… wait for it… ride our bikes around the neighbourhood without helmets.

The screens were less toxic

Screen time never seemed like much of an issue growing up. In fact, horror movie marathons were the norm on weekend sleepovers.

The playgrounds were crazier

Playgrounds made out of wood… monkey bars with nothing but sawdust underneath… tyre swings. Unheard of, right? But when we were growing up, this was the norm. Our favourite playground game was spinning around on the tyre swing until someone threw up.


The viruses were harder to catch

I can count the number of times I took antibiotics in the first ten years of my life on one hand. My kids… they probably have gone through the same round of antibiotics in the first six months of their lives. Those darn superbugs.

The food wasn’t as “free”

Sure, there may have been gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and fat-free options. But I didn’t know about them. And, if my parents did, they chose not to the share this information.

The sun was safer

Probably not… but our parents certainly didn’t seem to feel the need to lather us in sunscreen every 15 minutes. Or mine didn’t. Being a bit sun kissed at the end of the day just meant we had a good day out.

The atmosphere was cleaner

Again… probably not. But I remember skipping baths often as a kid, simply because we were out playing until dark or because we fell asleep on the lounge. These days, it seems like we follow the bath, book, bed routine to a tee. Skipping a bath equates to failing at being a mum.

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The encyclopaedia actually had purpose

And CD-Roms were the closest thing we had to the Internet. Researching for a paper meant you actually had to quote from real books, visit libraries and make key notes with an actual pen and paper. Oh the horror.

The prizes were harder to win

Some things never change – like party games. But while these days every child expects to win a Pass the Parcel prize (a lolly or small toy) for unwrapping a piece of paper, back in our day, only the child that survived through all 17 pieces of paper was the one who got the prize.

And, finally, the phones were attached to the walls.

I know. I can’t even……

What other things have changed then and now for you?


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