Parents are 'over-organising' children, says Winnie-the-Pooh writer
Winnie-the-Pooh writer Jane Riordan has said that parents spend too much time “over-organising” their children into activities because they are “afraid they will got bored”.
The author, who has taken over Pooh writing duties from the late A A Milne, said that some boredom is necessary for children to explore friendships and imagination.
Her comments came amid new figures on Wednesday, what would have been Milne’s 135th birthday, revealing the importance of childhood relationships.
The mother of two, 41, said: “There is something about the simplicity of life in those stories, where Christopher Robin and his toys spend a whole day hunting for the North Pole, that we as adults can never experience.
“We are always rushing from one thing to another, and there’s a trend now for parents being scared that their children will get bored.
“We spend too much time over-organising our children, protecting them and ushering them from one club to another, but actually it’s in those in-between moments that children really develop and explore their imaginations.
“Milne’s message is that children play best and form the strongest friendships when they are just left to be and do nothing much – when they get a bit bored is when their imaginations run wild.”
The research by Disney showed that a quarter of adults are still best friends with their childhood best friend.
It revealed that two thirds (66%) of UK adults met their closest friend by the age of eight and considered truthfulness, pride in each other’s achievements and making each other laugh as the most important factors that held them together.
A similar number said that wise Winnie-the-Pooh morals, such as “it isn’t much good having anything exciting if you can’t share it with somebody”, gave them valuable advice that they still remember.
The latest figures are accompanied by brand new coloured illustrations in the original EH Shepard style.
“I think Winnie the Pooh is very much embedded in our national psyche,” Jane said.
“It’s a key part of the lasting appeal, the idea of this safe place where children have the freedom to play and form friendships, with no adults, which gives them an incredible feeling of empowerment.”
As well as acting as Winnie-the-Pooh editor at Egmont publishers, Jane has penned six original titles, including one which sees Christopher Robin and Pooh take a trip to London to celebrate the Queen – and Pooh’s – 90th birthday last year.
“I added in some little touches that I think would have pleased Milne,” she revealed.
“For instance, the hint of jealousy when Christopher sees the lions in Trafalgar Square he says, ‘Oh, I wish I had a lion’, but Pooh pulls him back and says, ‘Bears are much better’.”