Micro-chipping kids: Sense or nonsense?

A couple of months ago the lovely Cuddles and Muddles tweeted a link to a blog post about micro-chipping kids. The general gist of the post was that if micro-chipping our kids helped us find them if they go missing then why wouldn’t we? This is obviously assuming that these micro-chips had GPS tracking capabilities (something which I think is some way from being available) so this discussion was a completely hypothetical one. At first you might think ‘hell, yeah, of course I would’ but I have to admit this wasn’t my first thought. In fact the whole idea made me recoil in horror.

The thought of micro-chipping my child absolutely terrifies me and there are two reasons for this. The first is that by micro-chipping our children, in a similar way we do our pets, our phones and our cars, I feel that we are objectifying our children and reducing them to possessions. I believe our children are people in their own right and not something we need to claim ownership of. Secondly and probably more importantly is the issue of privacy. By micro-chipping our children with a GPS tracking system we are removing one of their basic human rights – privacy. What will stop some parents spying on their teenagers, preventing them from making the same mistakes we did as kids or learning how to make sensible choices? I have to admit there are a few mistakes that me and my brothers made growing up that I wouldn’t want Little Man to repeat, however, I also understand how the opportunity to make those same mistakes afforded us the chance to grow and develop. It helped shape the people we are today, and let’s face it, when I was a teenager I knew it all already and wasn’t listening to anyone’s advice! The thought of myself or someone else having the ability to track my teenagers movements, no matter how tempting, just feels wrong on so many levels.

After taking stock of my own thoughts on the subject I did do a little bit of Google research and was shocked at the amount of parents who were seemingly up for this option of control. Often the reason given for choosing to micro-chip was that any risk of their child being kidnapped or stolen, no matter how high or low, automatically trumped any potential negative outcomes of micro-chipping. For them it is worth the loss of privacy for their children, because their child might be taken. I get this, I really really do, the thought of losing my child is terrifying to the core, however, the risks of this happening compared with the potential negative consequences of microchipping is not a price I would willingly pay.

Whilst searching the net for micro-chipping discussions I came across the book Free-range kids by Lenore Skenazy. After reading the blurb I bought the book. It doesn’t mention the micro-chipping debate at all but it does raise some really important issues about how, as parents in the modern age, we have allowed fear to seep in. We are so concerned about what we hear on the news that our children are slowly losing their independence and their privacy with it. The main thing I took away from the book was that our reactions to risk need to be proportionate to the risk involved and that as parents, for obvious reasons we sometimes let the fear factor get the better of us. For example, allowing our children to walk to school. Many of us won’t because we believe the chance our children will be snatched by a stranger is incredibly high, when in fact the risk is actually quite low, especially if they are walking with friends on a route used by lots of other school children.

I know as a parent I can sometimes let the fear creep in. I’m not sure I will ever be ready to let Little Man walk to school on his own, however, I do hope that when the time comes and he asks for this little piece of independence, when I know deep down that he really is ready, that I will be brave enough to let him go. At the moment even letting him in the garden on his own can be terrifying. At  only 2 and a half his freedoms are limited but I am already aware of his growing need for freedom and space. He will often ask me to leave a room so he can play on his own or head off to his treehouse if he needs some space. His independence is growing and I have to make myself step back at times and allow him to try on his own, even if sometimes I can see him struggling. I really hope I can continue to do that for him as he gets older and I don’t want to have to stop him from walking to school or popping to the shop by himself. I want him to be able to go and play in the woods or at the park with his friends without having to have a grown up with him all the time. I hope I can equip him with the knowledge and skills that will enable him to act sensibly and understand the risks for himself without having to resort to micro-chips or keeping him under constant supervision.

You hear more and more stories of police marching children back to their homes when they have been out den building or playing in the park on their own. Where I work there are often children out and about on their own and I always hear comments from others asking where the parents are and why they aren’t with them in disapproving tones. This saddens me because this world should be as accessible to our children as it is to adults but it slowly becoming a place where children aren’t allowed unless ‘accompanied by an adult’.

Wouldn’t we be better off dealing with the issues that make this world less safe for our children, for example, slowing down the traffic in areas where children walk to school, and equipping our children with information that would provide them with the confidence to get out of a tricky situation rather than excluding them from these activities or resorting to micro-chipping them?

What do you think? Do you let your kids out on their own? If not, why not? Would you micro-chip your little one? How do you see the world changing? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Outdoor Play Party – International Fairy Tea Party Day

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Friday 19th September is International Fairy Tea Party Day and I am soo excited it is embarrassing!! Little Man is totally and completely not bothered by fairies; dinosaurs, dragons and monsters are far more his thing. However, I have a cunning plan to get him excited about fairies. Our fairies are going to be dragon fairies. Fire breathing fairies with magical powers and we are going to have a tea party with them! He better be brave.

As you may have gathered from previous posts, Little Man’s imagination is wild at the moment. I am really enjoying this part of his development and take any opportunity to bring it out. Fire breathing fairies with magical powers should do the trick nicely. I haven’t quite decided the plan for the day but these are some of the activities I hope to have on offer for him.

- Make a fairy house. My lovely friend Tiffany from Woodland Warriors makes fabulous fairy doors that will be perfect for our fairy friends. I am sure we can make the fireproof somehow.

- Find and decorate a fairy wand. Little Man often uses sticks as fire sticks where he will shoot fire at me or Daddy. He will love this part and even if we don’t end up doing any decorating and spend the morning running around shooting fire at each other instead it will be a morning well spent.

- Fairy scavenger hunt. I haven’t quite worked this one out yet. I’m not sure whether to hide clues from the fairies that will lead us to a real dragon or whether to make and hide some fairies themselves. I quite like the first idea, I just have to work out how to make the dragon.

- No fairy tea party would be complete without a tea party. Depending on where we have it I’m hoping to do this over the campfire. Gotta get some real fire in there somewhere. Little Man can help me find some fairy blankets (cotton pads) to get the fire started and then we can have some yummy chocolate bananas.

Ooooh, I’m soo excited. I hope he enjoys it. Do you have any other fairy related ideas that we could bring to the tea party?

Last Outdoor Play Party I really loved Cuddles & Muddles Coloured Water Play. I just thought this was a lovely way to play and explore colour whilst providing the endless fascination that water always bring for little ones.

Playtime Pinspiration - Coloured Water Play

How have you been playing outdoors this fortnight? Have you been finding fairies or playing with water? However, you have chosen to play outdoors please do link up. We love reading all your posts and sharing them with the world.

We’d appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we’ll gladly further share your post on FacebookTwitterPinterest. Please feel free to grab the Outdoor Play Party button from the sidebar and/or include a text link back.

Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured.(If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the ‘featured’ button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week! 

Summer Fun

This summer has been a strange one weather wise. We have had days when the weather has been so warm if you want to get outside you have to do it in the morning or risk melting, days when the rain has been so heavy you practically had to swim wherever you need to get to and days like today, when it feels absolutely autumnal, even the leaves are changing colour!

Autumn is already setting in, the days are getting shorter and I am sitting here writing this in my dressing gown. With this in mind I thought it was probably worth recapping our summer as a way to capture the memories as well as sharing with you what we have been up to (I have been terrible at keeping up with blogging this summer!). Hopefully you will find some summer inspiration in there somewhere too.

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We did lots more that I didn’t manage to capture with the camera too. We flew spaceships to the moon, got chased by monsters, hunted for dinosaurs and elephants and made fires with sticks. I do love Little Man’s imagination, it opens up a whole new world.

Another way we have been keeping all these memories is in a summer scrapbook, inspired by Steph Tilly from Center Parcs. You should have seen the mess in the front room by the time we had finished putting in the first lot of photos! There was glitter, stickers, glue, paper and colouring pens all over the floor and we are still finding glitter now. Steph has a few other tips on how to preserve your summer memories but this was absolutely my favourite. Little Man has loved the process too. It gives him a real chance to talk about what we have been up to and link it all up together. His speech is coming on so well now and this is another one of those activities that really encourages him to express himself verbally. Well worth doing and a lovely keepsake. The tricky part is letting them loose. I so wanted to stop him drawing on the pictures and tell him where to stick things but I am glad I didn’t. It adds to the memories and really makes it his.

How have you been preserving your summer memories?

This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 August challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Elvedon Forest.

Outdoor Play Party – We have a treehouse!

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It was quite some time a go that I wrote the post Why I want a Treehouse for my Toddler. In fact it was a whole year ago! Our initial plan was to get one for Christmas, but for one reason or another it never happened and Little Man ended up adding to his tractor collection instead. We have, however, slowly been collecting playhouses, usually old and in need of repair. This collection first came in handy when the opportunity arose for chickens. Little Man and Daddy worked hard and quickly over a few days to get the sweet little house up and ready for our brood of 6. The leftovers as it were, were then stored in our little copse in a corner of the garden. Out of sight but not out of mind, at least not for Daddy anyway.

Over the summer holidays he always gets a couple of weeks off. A time which rarely coincides with my work but a time that allows him to get on with stuff he never gets round to otherwise. During this time he had been quite cagey about what he had been up to and I just assumed he had been busy playing with cars in his workshop, his usual use of time when he has it. Then one day I drove up the drive after a day at work to spy something up high in-between our large conifer and one of the plum trees. It was a treehouse! I was so excited I ran indoors and let the cat out of the bag. Apparently he was trying to keep it a secret until he had finished but now that Little Man knew the first thing he wanted to do was check it out.

 

As you can imagine he loved it! Standing in it and squealing, picking ivy leaves and dropping them out of the windows. Jumping up and down and banging about. He certainly put it to the test. At the moment there still aren’t any stairs so in the meantime we have a ladder and I can’t believe how good Little Man is at going up and down it. He flies up there and down again, flitting between bike riding, snail hunting and peeking at us through the trees. He has been out there helping Daddy paint it and fix the windows in. It truly is his space and everything I wanted in a treehouse for him. Thank you Daddy! You are awesome.

Do you have a treehouse? Would you consider getting one for your kids?

Last Outdoor Play Party I really enjoyed Mummy Crusader’s post about Geocaching. We tried it once some time ago but it wasn’t exactly a grand success, even though we all had a fabulous time. Mummy Crusader has inspired us to try it again so keep posted for our next geocaching adventure.

Second Graders finds a geocache | mommycrusader.com

How have you been playing outdoors this fortnight? Have you been climbing trees or treasure hunting? However, you have chosen to play outdoors please do link up. We love reading all your posts and sharing them with the world.

We’d appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we’ll gladly further share your post on FacebookTwitterPinterest. Please feel free to grab the Outdoor Play Party button from the sidebar and/or include a text link back.

Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured.(If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the ‘featured’ button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week! 

 

 


PSP Southampton Boat Show

A fantastic family day out

PSP Southampton Boat Show 2014 logo

Has anyone been to the PSP Southampton Boat Show? I haven’t but it looks like a cracker of a show.

I was recently sent a press release about the event and after reading it I thought I had to share it. If we lived a little bit closer we would definitely be attending!

The show is one of Europe’s largest outdoor boat shows and is running from Friday 12 September until Sunday 21 September 2014, and from what I’ve read it promises to be a fun-filled, jam packed family day out. There is a wide range of entertainment on offer, from live music to helicopter rides! There are even GetAfloat sessions that offer 90 minutes free instruction in dinghy sailing. The age range for this is 8 – 16yrs so Little Man would be far too little but if your kids are a bit older they would love it! You never know, they might discover a new hobby.

For the first time in the history of the Show, visitors will also be able to take to the air on the new PSP Southampton Boat Show Eye. The impressive ride is only £3 a go and will take you up more than 100 feet off the ground for a spectacular 360 degree view of the Show and surrounding Southampton area. Can you imagine the views?

There will be loads of boats on show, little and large, plain and fancy, and the marina itself is supposed to be absolutely stunning so if your kids are into boats then it sounds like a must do. Even if they aren’t I reckon it will be a great day out. There are also loads of opportunities to actually get out on the water from speeding across the waves with the On The Water Try-a-Boat sessions to climbing aboard the historic tall ship Phoenix which looks incredibly like a pirate ship and has even starred in Dr Who!

Murray Ellis, Managing Director of PSP Southampton Boat Show said “We’re very excited about this year’s PSP Southampton Boat Show, a perfect event for everyone passionate about the outdoors and what it has to offer.  We hope to inspire visitors to try out something new for the day, whether that is on the water or even in the air! The mix of shopping, attractions, marine activities and boats will create a vibrant and exciting atmosphere for the whole family to enjoy.  

“With our new attractions and hundreds of boats to climb aboard, many being unveiled for first time, it really will be a spectacular Show!”

Tickets to the PSP Southampton Boat Show sound reasonable as well, considering the amount of things on offer, with adult tickets starting from £15 and two children under the age of 15 getting in free with each paying adult.  That makes it a £30 day out for two adults and four children excluding food but if you get organised and take a picnic that doesn’t sound bad compared with other similar sized events or attractions.

For all Show ticket information visit www.southamptonboatshow.com . The website is actually quite good with loads of information about what’s on and general information about what to expect at the show.

Apparently The London Boat Show is happening Friday 9 – Sunday 20 January 2014 at ExCeL London.  I think we might try and make this one as it is much closer for us although it does look less family friendly. Anyone been to either? What did you think?

Please note I was not paid in any way to feature this press release. 

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