As we look towards the New Year many people take the opportunity to recap on the events of the last 12 months. Here at Lets Explore Soft Play Centre, we've decided to step back a bit further and reflect on how parenting has changed over the past one hundred years.
The jury is still out as to whether real nappies are truly greener than disposable nappies once you consider the use of the washing machine and water; however, one hundred years ago there wasn't a choice. Back then they would have all been cloth nappies, that were soaked in a bucket, washed by hand, wrung through a mangle and dried by the oven or fire.
Fortunately, there are so many nappies with green credentials available now to ease your conscience, and save you time.
Most mums stayed at home as a housewife and the main carer of their children, while the husband would be the breadwinner. This has rapidly changed over the decades with families sharing household chores, many homes having two incomes, and the day-care of the kids often outsourced to an approved childcare provider such as a nursery or a childminder. Family roles are far more equal now with men entitled to paternity leave to help their partner bond with the baby or fulfilling the role of stay-at-home dad.
Back in the 1910s parents were encouraged to refrain from touching their babies as much as possible as it was believed that too much love and affection had a damning effect on a child's resilience. Fortunately, that belief started to die out in the 1930s and it is widely known that a hug brings parents and children closer together as well as having many positive health benefits such as lowering stress levels and making people happier. Group hug anyone?
A century ago there were no baby play centres or soft play facilities to take children to. There were also no playgrounds or the plethora of toys readily available. So how did parents entertain children? Babies might have a metal rattle, but most toys were only really accessible to wealthy families. Poorer children might get a stick or a stone, or even a clothes peg modelled into a doll. Wealthier family may have invested in a rocking horse, a Kaleidoscope or a tea set. Whether rich or poor though, parenting and keeping the little ones entertained must have been far harder than today.
Our indoor play centre keeps parents and children coming back time after time as each visit offers a new adventure. Take a child's eye view of some of the fun they can get up to here and let's be thankful that for lots of reasons parenting has changed for the better!
Happy New Year!