My son isn’t interested in sport….. And that is fine!

My utility room at home contains a washing machine that is constantly on, a tumble dryer that is slowly creating its very own expensive carbon footprint, and also a corner dedicated to my eldest son’s discarded outdoor play pursuits! This includes a football, a golf club, a tennis racket, a scooter, and if I had not been so disorganised last term they would all be nestled on top of a karate kit! These items block the back of the door, and with each forced entry into the utility room I am reminded that my son just isn’t interested in sport, or any form of competitive physical play.

Before school each morning we arrive early enough to let him run around the playground. He will habitually play on all the apparatus and takes great delight in showing me (every morning) a secret opening in the bushes that has become his house. This house has its very own burglar alarm (a tree branch that you press down before entry), a sofa (a tree stump) and even a balcony which is a low wall that backs onto the football courts down below. It is here that a familiar group of boys from his year group play football before the morning bell.
I’ve often asked my son if he would like to join in, but this is always answered with a definite no and he continues with his imaginative play. He just isn’t interested and never has been during his short 6 years of life.

Naturally, as parents we have tried to expose our son to as many external activities as possible to discover what his passions are outside of the school curriculum. We tried football both in and outside of school, but he was more interested in what was lurking in the grass than the ball rolling on top of it. We tried golf, which I will add he was excellent at, but he had such hysterical fits before each lesson that I actually thought his lungs might burst. We have travelled to parks, helmet and plasters at the ready with his scooter, but he would much rather use the ramps as a launch pad for his superhero moves and best flying impressions. The only activity that we have firmly committed to is swimming, because whilst it is a sport and can most certainly be competitive it is also an essential life skill. However swimming is where it starts and stops with my son’s sporting interests.

As to be expected his lack of enthusiasm for sport has changed who he interacts with at school.He has always had a wide selection of friends, some that have been established from as young as 3 when he first started in pre-school. These friendships are naturally changing as each child explores their interests at playtime.
Sometimes on the way home from school we discuss who he has played with that day, and if I ask my son why he hasn’t played with a particular child for a while, it is always met with the stock answer, “They play football at break time.” Whilst it is sad that he doesn’t play with some of his old friends, I am pleased that he knows his own mind and is happy with the games and people he does play with.

As a mummy I will encourage my son to explore all of his interests, and I won’t ever deter him from doing something just because it doesn’t fit the mould. I’m pretty confident Ed Sheeran’s mum and dad didn’t dismiss his passion for music and thrust a ball under his nose every time he went to lift up the piano lid! Besides which, I will have fewer grass stains to get out of my son’s clothes!!

A little thought before you post that picture of your child mid tantrum

Picture the scene, your child has their first interview for a job they really want, a panic ensues about what outfit to wear, arrangements are made about transport, and your darling child acts out mock questions in front of the mirror.
Meanwhile, their potential future boss is at work looking over pictures of your child growing up, and creating their own profile before they even walk through the door. That’s right, your child’s future supervisor, the person who in charge of their p45 and toilet breaks is currently looking at your son aged 6 after loosing his first tooth, skipping down the stairs aged 10 to his mountain of Christmas presents and even that video you posted of him doing a funny dance to the song he never stopped listening to!

I am from a time when all family pictures were located in a box that was stored on top of my parents wardrobe, or taken with a video camera that needed to be connected to the computer. This was not 100s of years ago as my children believe, but as early as the year 2000.
Shortly after that was the well known birth of the mother of all social networking sites; Facebook. Facebook has enabled us to literally document every second of our children’s daily lives and milestones for all to see. Every single school achievement, play date with friends and family get togethers with the grandparents, is captured and posted.
The old cliche of a teenager being hideously embarrassed by parents, eager to show the new boyfriend or girlfriend photos of a time when their child frolicked naked in the paddling pool is now an online reality, and is available to future partners, peers, friends of friends or even their employer. The option of silently sitting in the corner praying that said photo box, or video camera will be packed away to gather its next coat of dust has been completely lost. Your child’s life is available for all see.

Recently, I read an article about how teenage children refuse to accept their parents’ friend requests online, and they won’t allow them to take personal pictures from fear of them being posted on social media. Of course, teenagers have this choice, they can vocalise how they feel however, our babies and young children don’t yet have the understanding, or the capacity to express their opinions on these images. Yes, as parents we think our children are the most gorgeous beings to ever have walked the earth, but given the statistics on body image and teenage peer anxiety, are we not adding further fuel to the already roaring fire of social media pressures?

A mum on Twitter had written about her son’s mobile phone content, and she accompanied the article with a picture of him looking at his mobile with his face blurred out. Her son is currently of high school age, and due to the subject matter I’m sure she had felt it necessary to pixelate him, so as not to cause any embarrassment.
I am interested to discuss how we feel we are entitled, as parents, to document every part of their lives until we realise how body conscious they have become.

We are all too aware of our children’s photos getting in to the wrongs hands, or our social media friends getting irritated at constantly looking at our children’s faces on their news feed. More important than this though, is the long term affects on our children of this constant over exposure.l have significantly reduced the number of images of my children on social media and I am more particular about the images I do post.
I will save the photo of my son’s first triumph on his potty, until he reaches his teenage years and we meet his new girlfriend for the first time! As for the video of him reenacting the moves of his favourite superhero, that will just be for me and his dad to watch, and laugh fondly at.

Many of my friends will disagree and we are all entitled to our opinion, but lets cast our minds back to our school days, when we were asked by our teachers to bring in an old photo of ourselves for the ubiquitous ‘changes’ topic. I’m sure we all selected the most photogenic snap of ourselves, not the one where we were having a tear streaked, snotty nosed tantrum! Even as adults I don’t think we ever move faster than when a facebook notification pops up to tell us we’ve been tagged!

Yes, we should celebrate our children, there is nothing on this earth that warrants more attention, but in a society that is becoming obsessed with presenting their “perfect” life online to the detriment of some children’s mental health we need to enable, and support our children to achieve their own path to self worth.

A review of the fabulous Bobadeg books

I absolutely love reading, my 6 year old son absolutely loves reading and despite my youngest being only 6 months, he always settles when I get a book out. So, when I discovered bodabeg personalised books I was delighted.
With the advice of Fiona from bodabeg I decided upon 3 books, ‘That’s Poo,’ ‘The Funny Fish’ and ”The Jiggly Juggly Journey.’ All 3 were personalised with a picture of my sons’ faces attached to the main character which, is where the fun began. We were able to follow their adventure through the pages wether it was a deep sea dive or a ride in a hot air balloon.The rhyming and repetition in the stories enabled them to read,( and in James’ case babble,) with ease and confidence.

It is really wonderful as a parent, to see your gorgeous child’s face on the pages of a book, and it is also an amazing keepsake. At the start of the book I was able to have the words ‘ to Isaac and James, hugs and kisses Mummy’ printed which, made it even more memorable.
My eldest son Isaac loves imaginative play and pretending to be the characters from the stories he reads.These books gave him the opportunity to enter into the character’s world on every page.This, I know, made him feel very special.

In addition to the interesting narrative, and lovely pictures, there are also some excellent tips for parents at the back of the books, to enable them to utilise the box as a learning tool. Some of the areas that are explored are, mathematical reasoning, pre-writing and verbal communication.

I would recommend these books to any parent looking for a personalised gift for their child or, a quirky bedtime read!