It was a time of giant pants and TV shows about nothing. A time when the internet as we know it was only in its infancy, and when those of us who had cell phones had to carry a five pound brick and somehow we thought it was cool. It was a time when Michael Jackson and Madonna ruled the pop stations. It was a time when beef was “what’s for dinner," we all did “the Dew," and we all wanted to “be like Mike.” There are so many '90s things that moms should teach their kids about because, well, they're not around anymore and for '90s kids like us, their absence is felt.
That's not to say that there aren't things in the '90s that we would all do well to forget and, like, as soon as possible. The disaster that was Woodstock '99, or that overly creepy Furby trend (what was that?!). The fact that you could rarely if ever find indie movies to watch at your local video store (but they always had about 50 copies of Waterworld). Or how hard it was to connect with someone cool you just met because social media didn’t even exist and if you somehow hunted down someone’s e-mail address (if they even had one), you were obviously a super creep of epic proportions. Of course, there's the undeniable fact that making the line at Ticketmaster for concert tickets took forever, and there was always the chance that they might sell out despite the fact that you camped out a la Saved By The Bell (fun fact: they were camping out for U2 tickets)?
We all tend to wax nostalgic about the '90s, but it wasn't all rainbows, my friends. Of course, there was good stuff, and that good stuff is something our kids shouldn't be forced to miss out on, just because they weren't born at a time when Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit were considered "cool." So, with that in mind, here are a few '90s things you should totally teach your kid about:
Although the channel originated back in the '70s, the golden days of Nickelodeon were back in the '90s. Their programming was stellar, with shows like Rocko’s Modern Life, Rugrats, Doug, Welcome Freshmen, Clarissa Explains It All, Eureeka’s Castle, Guts, Double Dare, and more at the helm. We love this era of Nick, so much that we’ve created a late-night version of it called "The Splat," which airs nightly on Teen Nick.
The Experience Of Going To Blockbuster
Some folks might not feel as nostalgic for the days of driving to the video store to rent out a movie, but the rest of us look back on this used-to-be necessity the way some people enjoy listening to records; it kind of forced you to make a decision and stick with it. These days most of us just spend hours scrolling through our Netflix queues until we fall asleep.
Dealing With Dial-Up
It’s not that we’re longing for the days of dial-up to return, but rather that we need our kids to understand how endlessly frustrating it once was and how incredibly easy they have it. I used this 56k simulator to look up my own site and realized just how obnoxiously slow the internet was then (even though I simultaneously recall when 56k was fast compared to 28k!) Try looking up your kid’s favorite YouTube shows he day they start to complain it’s not fast enough and it’ll put things in perspective.
Chat Rooms And Instant Messenger
I know we still communicate with strangers on the internet to an extent, but is it just me or does it seem a whole lot safer now? Maybe it’s just my age, but looking back on my use of AOL chat rooms and AIM, I feel like I was speaking to way too many potential (and some very likely) creeps, back in the '90s. I think a discussion about '90s chat rooms, stranger danger, and new technology is important for all households.
Passing Notes In Class
When your kid gives you lip for taking their phone away, let them know that long before Facebook and Snapchat, the only way to talk to your friends in or between classes was via good ol’ pen and paper. I’m sure some kids still use this “old school” communication method, but I would venture to guess it's foreign to most.
Cool Toys Like Talk Boy, Dream Diary, Ask Zandar, Tamagotchis, Etc.
I know kids these days have iPhones issued to them at birth, but there’s something amazing about how much fun we had with so much less back in the '90s. Instead of voice recorders and apps to scramble how we sound, we had Talk Boy and Talk Girl. Polly Pocket was the original Shopkins, except you could carry her around in your pants, which is honestly way cooler.
When your teenager (or even threenager) begins to get huffy about their outfits, show them what we used to wear. Jncos, chain wallets, Zubas, Reef sandals, Oakleys, Fubu wear, bucket hats; dear fashion gods we voluntarily wore them all, and proudly. While some of those fashions should stay in the '90s, where they belong, your youngster might want to raid your closet if you still have some of the old classics that are making a comeback: flannels and Doc Martens always look good, for example.
Making Mix Tapes
The beauty of making mixtapes is lost on the Spotify generation. It wasn’t just about compiling some good songs back then. You had to toil through it, waiting to hear your favorite songs on the radio, or holding your boom box up against your television set once MTV finally played Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy." If you still have a boom box (and what good '90s-raised mom doesn’t?), you might even make this into a weekend challenge/project for your older kids.
How Much Sugar We Consumed
We probably still consume a lot of sugar now, but these days we know about high-fructose corn syrup and added sugars and, in turn, we make an effort to avoid them. But you can always tell your kids about the days when we were all hopped up on Surge cola and Dunkaroos and explain that’s why mommy had to get a few teeth pulled last week.
The Trials And Tribulations Of Land Lines
Your kids will undoubtedly get mad at you for taking their phone privileges. Take them down memory lane to the time when the only way to call a friend was via land line. Tell them about how there was no caller ID, so you might accidentally answer the phone when someone you didn’t want to talk to was calling, or how there was often no call waiting so if your brother was on the phone, you’d totally miss that call from the cute kid in your class. The horror!
How To Get Someplace Without Goggle Maps
This is an important life skill! Back in the day, we had to ask for directions, or find a map (at a bookstore or in an encyclopedia, perhaps) and figure out how to get from point A to B. I can’t imagine kids these days, trying to use a compass or figure out which way is north by looking at the sun.
Walkmans And Discmans
Long before smart phones and way before iPods (ha no one even uses those anymore), we had to carry small cases filled with CDs for our Discman. Before that, we basically chose one tape we didn’t think we’d get sick and carried it in our Walkman. Teach your kids about this ancient technology and maybe they’ll be the coolest kid in their class. Or not.
Prizes In Every Cereal Box
Prizes were the highlight of every cereal box once upon a time. Our parents can attest to that. Their generation saw prizes that were probably way more dangerous than anything we got. Sadly, most companies have all but put an end to this fun tradition. Maybe you can recreate the magic by sneaking in a prize into a box you purchase, though.