So you think you don't know what to do with the kids
AFTER reading 1,001 Things To Do With Your Kids (Abingdon Press, Nashville, paperback), I asked myself, ``What would it be like to grow up in a home with the author, Caryl Waller Krueger?'' The answer: Marvelous!
Clearly Ms. Krueger, a lecturer and writer on child development, understands and enjoys youngsters of all ages. She also understands today's busy parents, who would like to provide more positive nurturing experiences for children in the few hours they share each day.
The key to her book is its title. This is not a volume of things to do for children, but with them. Not things to get them out of one's hair, but 1,001 suggestions for parents and children to do together.
``Games and Puzzles'' and ``Let's Pretend'' head the sections that open the book. Later items - in the 1 to 1,001 lineup - include help in solving family problems, such as handling lying or losing in sports. Other items help introduce children to new experiences, such as menu planning and coping with dangers.
I especially enjoyed one of the author's ideas for household chores, called ``Human Chain.'' It describes a playful way of hauling in the groceries or firewood.
Krueger also has suggestions for home religious and ethical training and for setting activity ``parameters'' in ways that are just and compassionate.
Her last chapter is ``Love In Action.'' In a book full of fine ideas based on knowledge, wisdom, and love, this ending best illustrates the author's philosophy.
Krueger's basic message is to live and demonstrate love within the home and beyond it. The book's index, which goes from ``absence of parents'' to ``year-round hunt,'' is the way to locate exactly the numbered means that Krueger would use for reaching particular results.
Parents, grandparents, and others involved in child care might want to do things her way the first time - but other times, with suggestions from children, do them with variations.
The note sheets at the back might be the place to record these and additional ``things'' discovered that have child appeal and value.
Krueger's book can be an excellent tool for enriching family life. My only regret is that after providing so many specific ideas, she does not close with a statement that crystallizes her view of what the good and happy home with children should be. That might have been a useful measuring stick for parents' and youngsters' attitudes.
Krueger succeeds in abundantly showing that ``expensive toys, world trips, and designer jeans may have their place,'' but they don't substitute for simple joys like walking together in the rain or lying on the grass looking at the stars.
She says, ``Family life is an adventure when parent and child work together, learn together, and have fun together.''
That's the stuff of good living and good memories.