Trendier than Tic-Tok – Why doing stuff is better than watching stuff

Parenting is hard. Perhaps harder than it’s ever been before. While our kids are much more likely to survive than they were hundreds of years ago, raising them ‘well’, is becoming overwhelmingly challenging.

Why? Because the world we live in is different now. Most kids have access to everything, all the time. How on earth can we compete with a frolicking baby lama or endless reels of funny fails?

My thinking is that if we’re not trendier than Tic-Toc, then Tic-Tok (or snapchat, or Instagram or whatever the latest platform is that they’ve found… that we don’t know about yet) will win.

But how can we (us middle aged dinosaurs that seem cranky more often than not, and have become overly concerned with towels on the floor or an unpacked dishwasher) be more fun, exciting and trendier than something like Tic-Toc?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. While Tic-Tok is certainly addictive and appears to provide endless entertainment for your kids, it can’t provide real experience, or love or a sense of meaning. That’s our job as parents.

We recently snuck into an abandoned mansion (no guesses as to where LOL) and our kids had a ball. We all enjoyed exploring, reading graffiti and imagining what it would be like to live there. They lit up. We laughed together. Threw rocks and may or may not have left our mark on the walls.

It got me thinking about the things we did as kids while we didn’t have the internet. We just did stuff.

We built bases, climbed fences, picked fruit, laid on the grass and laughed at the cloud shapes. We jumped from trees, drew stupid pictures, made flower chains and just generally wasted our time.

So as a parent, how can we recreate the ‘stuff’ we did, with our kids? Well, here’s some ideas to play with;

Get them to write down a sequence of Left/ Right directions – perhaps 15- 20, then set out on an adventure to your unknown destination on a bike or in the car.

Explore a new beach and wander around the rock pools. You can lose hours gazing at nature and you might be surprised at how the kids start to open up as you meander along.

Set up a ‘Master Chef’ challenge and give them a budget, time frame and a few lose guidelines (that are age appropriate) and let them loose in the kitchen.

Lay out random items from your pantry or home and give them a canvas to create a piece of art. It could be anything like pasta tubes, shampoo, tinned peaches, an old tooth brush or a shoelace. Embrace the mess and if you’re brave enough, join in the fun.

These are the sort of things that make memories, build trust and bring your kids back together. If you can let go of the schedule for a while, drop the expectations and leap into the unknown together, you might just find that you become trendier than Tik-Tok.

Well, we can only try. LOL.