The '90s were a magical time to be a kid. The sugar was still flowing from the '80s and no one knew the kind of havoc that the Internet would wreak, or the transformation that the term "bullying" would make. Because of that, there were things parents were more chill about in the '90s than they are today. Part of that is due to how chaotic the world has become, between the mass amounts of school shootings, social media apps that geolocate your every move, amber alerts that are broadcasted everywhere you look. And part of it is just due to the ever changing times.
The only thing that stops me from thinking that the 90s were only 10 years ago is that fact that my daughter is almost half that age. I have to wonder what she'll think of all the things I start to reminisce about, as she gets old enough to ask me about my own childhood. Talking about the good ol' days, when we had to wait almost 20 minutes for our favorite movie to rewind so we could return it to the video store. Things are definitely different as a parent now, for good reason, but I can't help myself from waxing nostalgic about how much easier it must have been, back then. Here are 15 things parents were more chill about in the 90s than they are now.
Okay, so there may not have been binge-watching Netflix back then, but Saturday morning cartoons generally stretched from whenever you woke up, all the way until there were no more cartoons playing. That was usually around five hours.
The only bento boxes you could find in the '90s were in Japanese restaurants. When '90s parents packed their kids' lunches, there was no guilt. Lunchables were fair game and nothing to feel bad about sending.
These days, it seems like there are as many (or more) parents on the playground as there are kids. Does anyone remember their parents coming with them to the playground, once they were out of kindergarten?
4. Playing With Friends
Playdates were not a thing, in the '90s. If you wanted to play with your best friend, you called them up or walked over to their house.
I basically lived on sugar. Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast? Yes please. Dunkaroos with lunch? Definitely. Healthy treat after school, like Fruit Rollups or a chocolate covered granola bar? Yes, that would be great. Ice cream with Magic Shell for dessert? Obviously. My kids are lucky if they get more than one treat a week.
6. Extra-Curricular Activities
How many activities did you take part in, growing up? My parents maxed out at two: ballet and piano lessons. I had free days, and free nights. My schedule wasn't totally filled, so I could just hang out with my friends after school most days, and play.
How many hours did we all spend in those chat rooms, talking with random strangers? How many of our parents even knew?
Unless you were settling in for a day at the beach, sunscreen really wasn't something that parents thought about applying on their kids. These days, parents get in trouble for not sending their kids to school or daycare with sunscreen to apply for the 15 minutes the kids are outside. Not that I'd know.
9. Sharing Newsworthy Events
Parents didn't grapple with how to break the news about traumatic events to their kids, back in the '90s, because there wasn't the fear of them finding out on Facebook first.
10. School Safety
Before the Columbine shooting in 1999, kids walked to and from school by themselves more often, and parents didn't worry that someone with a gun would come and shoot their kids for no reason, because it never happened.
11. Adult Supervision
Just like their '80s predecessors, '90s parents gave their kids a longer leash. Being alone after school for a few hours was no big thing, by the time you were eight or nine, something that just doesn't happen anymore.
12. Hand Sanitizer
Couldn't wash your hands shortly after your sneezed? No worries! The germs just made '90s babies stronger.
13. The Type Of Movies Kids Watched
Lets go back and revisit some classic "kids" movies that would have my kids howling in terror, if they watched them at the same age that I did: The Dark Crystal? Um, yeah. The Neverending Story? So dark! Labyrinth? Hell no.
'90s parents let their kids do their thing, come summer. Park nearby? Off you go, come back for lunch.
Taking public transit to the mall (with friends) was no big deal in the '90s, even if you were only seven or eight. Kids alone at bus stops, kids alone at the movies, all of it is stuff you just don't see as much of, now.