I’ll admit that I had a pretty idyllic childhood growing up. I can remember well the long afternoons spent outdoors playing leapfrog with friends, throwing the frisbee or simply racing to see who was the fastest. There were no distractions and no games on the television. Instead, there was simply the open back yard, the neighborhood kids and all the time in the world (until mom called me in for supper that is). Some of my fondest memories that I think back on are of those warm spring and summer afternoons spent with grass between my toes and laughter spilling from my lips. If I close my eyes, I can almost smell how our back yard smelled and hear the echos of my childhood friends. If I’m being honest, that’s always what I’ve wanted for my boys. I’ve fought the move to a variety of screens and more time indoors because in my mind, it just can’t compare with those memories of running as fast a I could and collapsing after tapping a friend’s hand at the finish line. It’s why I take time out of my day to recreate these moments with my own children as I encourage them to put down the gadgets, unplug from their phones and discover that true childhood memories are all about capturing the magic of childhood through play.
While admittedly there is a big age difference between my children, I’m a firm believe (just as my mama was when I was young) that play can bridge age gaps and bring together siblings, neighbors and even parents in a way that nothing else can. It’s why for some time now, my family has had field night once a week. It’s a simple time when we head down to the field below our house together, leave all our gadgets at home and recapture that innocence that is truly what makes childhood magical. For those few hours each week, there’s no stopping to check texts or plugging into a game on the television. Instead, there is only us and a wide open space that just begs to be played on. At first, when we started this tradition the boys weren’t sure what to do with themselves. They would kick soccer balls or wander around. But once I introduced them to some of the classic games from my childhood, they suddenly became more interested. As the hubs and I shared stories of how the world was a much simpler place when we were growing up, we introduced them to leapfrog, where they would take turns vaulting over each other’s head. Obviously my 6’2 teenager always came out on top but that didn’t stop my little guy from trying and loving every minute of it.
We told them all about relay races where we would run until we couldn’t breath just to be the first one to tap the hand at the finish line. In truth, we didn’t really care who won or lost. It was all about the feeling of the wind rushing through our hair as we pushed our legs to pump harder and harder until we fell on the ground completely satisfied and exhausted, regardless of who had actually gotten there first.
We shared how we’d create a triangle and throw the frisbee, seeing who could make it fly the highest and who could catch it no matter how far off the throws were.
We showed them one game at a time what our childhood was like and as we simply played, we were able to show them something even bigger….a world where games were about being outside and the fun didn’t end until long after the fireflies started to light up the evening sky. In showing them this, we were also able to remind ourselves that there used to be a simpler time, where we weren’t always connected and always working. When we could simply step outside and leave everything behind except for the memories that were waiting to be created.
While I know that this simpler way of life isn’t the reality of how we live, it some ways it can be. I know that I can pull my family away and have a field night that mimics my own childhood. I know that I can slow down time for a few hours every week and simply savor the fact that life is good. And I know that I can throwback to my own childhood when things were simpler and memories seemed to be sweeter.
As a watch my kids grow and these moments become fewer and further between, I’m so glad that there are simply ways to connect and communicate that don’t have all the bells and whistles but simply serve their purpose and help me trust that my children are safe whether they are in our own field or at a friend’s house. That’s why I’m excited to Relay from Republic Wireless is helping to keep childhood innocent while still giving parents and kids a way to connect that’s safe and convenient. If you haven’t heard about Relay, it’s a nationwide cell phone alternative that safely empowers childhood. Instead of a phone that many kids aren’t ready for yet, Relay is a smart walkie talkie (with 4G LTE coverage) that allows parents to stay in touch with their kids without the worry that a smartphone can often bring (especially for younger kids). It enables kids to adventure, to play and to explore while still giving parents the peace of mind that their children are never out of reach.
So how does Relay work? Much like the games that filled my childhood, relay is simple! It’s one-touch communication makes it easy to use. It doesn’t have a phone number to remember so parents are in control of who their children are talking to. Instead, it’s activated through a companion app on the parent’s phone which allows mom and dad to control the settings and includes GPS tracking. It’s a perfect size for little pockets and doesn’t come with the distractions that smartphones bring. Instead, it’s an easy way for parents to give their children the freedom they want while having the peace of mind that the digital world brings.
As a mom, Relay is highly intriguing to me as an option to preserve my youngest son’s innocence while still giving him the freedom to roam like I did as a child. It’s a great way to achieve the peace of mind that being constantly connected offers while keeping childhood exactly as it should be….simple!
If you have a child that’s ready to explore the world while still being close enough for you to feel safe, Relay by Republic Wireless could be the perfect solution for both of you! Find out more about this innovative way to communicate with your kids while keeping childhood simple here. And be sure to follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for ideas and inspiration on how to make childhood magical.
Now tell me, how would Relay help give you peace of mind while offering your child the freedom of your own childhood?