Tag Archives: bikes

If A Stranger Offers You Candy From A Bentley, They Are Still A Stranger.

17 Aug

Do kids just play outside anymore?

In Beverly Hills they don’t. Kids here are either inside playing Wii or are on their IPads. If they are outside, they are at The Park being followed closely by a parent or nanny. I can’t even remember the last time I drove down any street in Beverly Hills and saw kids playing football or tag.

I’m sure I could launch a very thorough study into this phenomenon and come up with some scientific answers, but I don’t have time for that, I have 3 kids and it’s Summer.
Here’s what I think is going on:

Technology- TV, computers, iPads, video games, cel phones and all the other tech stuff my kids know about that I’ve never even heard of.
When I was a kid all we had was Nintendo and the only game that anyone played was Super Mario Brothers. That didn’t keep us indoors all afternoon. You could only bump so many mushrooms and coins with your head before it got boring. If we had all this amazing stuff when I was a kid, I would have NEVER left the house.

Fear- As parents, raising kids in a city, we aren’t sure if it’s even safe to let them play outside. Yesterday, my 7 year old wanted to play out front with the little boy that lives two doors down. I just stood there after she asked me. I honestly had no idea if it was okay for her to play on the front lawn without my supervision. She has always been watched by someone. She knows not to wander, she knows not to talk to strangers, she’s with another friend, is it okay?
We pay top dollar to live in this neighborhood and I don’t even know if I feel safe having my kid play in the front yard.
Do strangers really scoop kids up from front lawns in BH? Am I supposed to sit at the front window and watch them? When did I stop feeling safe?

Activities- the children around here are scheduled for activities before they are even born. My daughter was signed up for Mommy and Me when I was 6 months pregnant. I had to, or I wouldn’t get a spot in the “best baby class.”
Trying to get together with other Moms and their kids is like scheduling a World Peace Conference. Between Ella, Bella and Stella’s dance, gymnastics and piano lessons and my kids early dinner and bath routine, you can kiss play dates goodbye.
Parents often ask me, what my kids DO. They don’t mean for a living, they mean as an activity. What do they “DO?” I usually have to use all my strength not to burst out laughing. My 3 year old son still poops in a pull up, what exactly did you have in mind for him?

City Life- I suspect that in out in the forests of Maine or the farms of Iowa, kids are playing outside. In the planned gated communities of the suburban world, I bet kids are riding bikes unsupervised. We are surrounded by aggressive drivers, traffic, and people rushing. It’s not exactly a perfect match for raising small kids. City living has tons of other perks, outside play just isn’t one of them.

There you have it. My thoughts on why kids don’t just play outside anymore.

What do I plan to do about it? I’m not sure yet. As most of you know, I’m a talker, discusser information gatherer. I will be looking into this, trying to figure out what needs to change, if anything at all. So, if a woman toting 3 children approaches you and asks you your thoughts on the state of kid-play in Beverly Hills, it’s just me, no need to panic.


As always, I love reading everyone’s comments and questions. Don’t be shy, I don’t usually bite.


Play Dates – When did being a kid become so formal?

28 Jun

When did kids playing together become so formal? It might just be a Beverly Hills thing, but playing with other kids is arranged by the parents around here.

Play dates – the parents designate a specific place and time for the child’s play to commence. kids don’t just ride bikes and skateboards on the sidewalks or cul de sacs.
When I was a kid we just went out the front door, found the other kids on the street and played.

I remember a kid on my street named RJ. He had the coolest dirt bike and he taught me how to ride a skateboard. I ended up breaking my arm crashing that bike into a tree. My Mom was in the house when it happened and I remember lying there on the pavement thinking, I am in soooo much trouble AND how awesome it was that I almost made it over the little ramp with no hands. While I laid there waiting for an adult to come I had to keep myself calm. I couldn’t crumble or panic, I had to keep it together until help arrived. If my Mom had been there supervising it never would have happened. I wouldn’t have been allowed to get on the bike in the first place. Or ride the skateboards, roller skates, and scooters freely. Because the other kids and I were allowed to simply play, I learned lessons that I have carried through my life.

I learned conflict resolution – When there are no adults to mediate kids manage to work things out on their own.
I learned how to stay calm in a painful situation. When your lying in the street with a very broken arm in front of all the kids in the neighborhood, you figure out the deep breathing method pretty quickly.
I learned about sex. The older girls told me about the birds and the bees and in return I told the even younger girls.
I learned how to play while using my imagination. My Mom didn’t set up activities for us, we made the activity happen.

Why has being a kid changed so much? Maybe it’s not as safe as it was in the 80’s and 90’s? Or maybe all of us parents have read too many books and taken too many classes on how to be a parent. It’s not that I want my kids breaking bones, it’s that I think the lessons they learn on their own are the most valuable.


Did you grow up with play dates or did you just play?

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