Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Thought for the Day: Modern Childhood

It occurred to me the other day that the accoutrements associated with being a modern child differ markedly from what was around in my own time.  I'm not talking about the myriad of hand held and other electronic gadgets that seem to hold the attentions of our kids far too nicely. No, what I'm on about are the bits and pieces that are now de-rigueur these days.Take for example...

  • Car seats -  Papa Lovelygrey had a two seater van.  Mum sat up front and us little'uns used to have  a whale of a time rolling around on a large piece of foam in the back!
  • Sports kit for primary school children - what happened to vest and pants as standard P.E. kit. I recall that one of my pairs of thick blue M&S knickers were marked age 3 on the label but were both stretchy and robust enough to still be in service when I was ten.
  • More than one pair of shoes at any given time - these were so relatively expensive that there were no distinction between footwear for school and best.  One pair had to be multi-purpose.  However I did have some 'gutties' for P.E. those black elasticated slippers beloved of Woolworths.
  • Insulated lunchboxes covered with popular cartoon characters and containing an ice pack to slow down bacterial growth.  For us it was Tupperware or an old margarine or ice cream tub.  Our tuna sandwiches moldered nicely in the heat of the morning and I can't recall anyone ever being the worse for wear.
  • Toothpaste especially designated for children's use.  I think we just used the SR along with the grown ups in the family.
  • Suntan lotion.  Again I don't think that this stuff was around in my early years.   We just covered up or were called  inside when Mama Lovelygrey thought we'd caught enough of those rays.
  • Bespoke dressing up costumes.   I'm always amazed by these when I see them in the supermarket and very glad that my son has an adversion to dressing up.  What happened to cut down dresses as fairy costumes and ghostly goings on under sheets?
...I'm sure I could go on and on.  Happily, in spite of our difference aspects of a 1970s and twenty-first century childhood are still very similar.  Mucking about on beaches, climbing trees, playing with Lego and eating ice cream and chocolate will all be common ground for fond memories that we can share thoughout our adulthood and beyond!


  1. I know, it's sad that it's all different now. I was forced to run around in my navy nicks and vest, everyone did. I climbed trees and jumped ditches and collected frogs. I wore my aunties cast offs as she was four years older than me. I used to love skipping games in the playground. Aahhh, simple pleasures.

  2. My grandchildren use LOTS of wet wipes and antibactarial hand gel. I remember sharing gobstoppers and chewing gum (yuk) and frequently had grubby hands, but none of us ailed a thing.
    We also used plimsoles supplied by the school, with a l and r painted on the toes. Played conkers, british bulldog and other equally rough games. Can you imagine the uproar that would cause the elf and safety bods.

    As you say, some things don't change, they all enjoy building dens and playing on the beach the same as I did. Sally

  3. and being able to walk to the store and get a popsicle on your own....such a sense of freedom and pride that was.
    we have to work hard now to keep anxiety at a minimum in this society of ours.