Kids and their energy and noise
From: Rob Sandelin (floriferousmsn.com)
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 18:44:51 -0800 (PST)
One of my students mothers described her son as, noise with dirt on it.  I
had to laugh. I deal with kids all day as a teacher and I am lucky enough to
be in a program that works outdoors. Most Kids often spend their day cooped
up being told to sit still, be quiet, read this, stop that..... To the point
they want to explode.  Kids, especially boys, are active and noisy and often
want to be physically challenged. In my experience, and also in my learning
going through teacher training, active and doing things is the norm for
kids.

So it should be no surprise that kids come to dinner, eat for 5 minutes,
then want to play, jump, run, dance, wrestle, etc. For most of them, this
active state is denied most of their day. During the summer of course, at
least in our neighborhood, the kids run around outside until too dark to
see. But in the short cold wet days of winter they are indoors more, and
this puts their activity and noise into conflict with adults who want quiet
conversations around the dinner table. 

It's a negotiated settlement at best, we send them off to children's rooms,
or pacify them with video screens of various sorts. I recall one cohousing
group who divided up dinner into two  parts, an early dinner for families
tolerant of kids, (loud dinner) and a later dinner for people who wanted
quiet time. Some families even split with  one parent taking one shift one
day, then switching shifts the other. Dinners ran from 5:30-7:30. 

By the end of my day I am usually pretty tired from kids energy thus I would
choose the latter option most the time were such options offered at our
community meals. But they are not, and I tolerate the kids energy and noise
because that is who they are, its who they are supposed to be, and who am I
to deny them their natural and normal expression.

Rob Sandelin
The Environmental Science School
Monroe, WA
Sharingwood Cohousing


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