Worried about a rise in childhood obesity, British authorities plan to send manuals to parents of newborns on how to play games such as hopscotch and hide-and-seek with their children. The manuals also cover skipping. In Fife, Scotland, the idea already is being tried.
The Play At Home manuals remind parents how to do everything from ring-a-ring-o’-roses to peek-a-boo to the hokey cokey. Parents receive further books, containing new exercises more suited to older children’s development, when their son or daughter turns three and five.
We Americans would say “ring around the rosey” and the “hokey pokey,” which I once helped teach to a group of Bedouin camel drivers in Jordan.
The story contains the word “quango.” A quango is “any administrative body that is nominally independent but relies on government funding.” We live and learn.
But the initiative is likely to spark claims that ministers are resorting to ‘nanny state politics’ by giving parents such detailed guidance about how to bring up their child.
Surely, this is the quintessence of the nanny state.