Summer break will be here soon. For some parents it won’t come soon enough. For others, it will be here way too soon. Some parents will look at summer break as a break from the school year craziness of homework, practices, school events, and for other parents they see summer break as resuming their full time job as an event planner, chauffeur and cater for their children, creating additional stressors of planning events and transportation and then financing it all.
So, let’s say you want to begin to slow things down. Where do you start?
First, recognize that good parenting is not linked to the amount of activities that your children are in. Think about what you believe makes you a good parent. How much of it have you linked to the activities your children are in? For most of you, probably very few.
Children will survive and even thrive from being bored. Limiting activities, planned play dates, and turning off the TV forces children to come up with something to do, if we allow it. And this “something” is often creative and different. It forces them to think for themselves and figure things out without the guidance of an adult telling them what to do.
We live in a society where everyone talks about being busy. Being busy has become a status symbol, a competition. Many are so busy doing and planning and not enjoying the moment. Recently, Maria Shiver delivered a commence address about slowing down and being in the moment, it was the most “re-tweeted” article on my Twitter account. People want to slow down, but afraid to appear lazy or not achieving. As adults, we need to change the way we think about bored so we can encourage our children.
What will being “bored,” “unscheduled” do for your children?
It encourages creativity. Think about what your kids would think of it they weren’t distracted with activities, TV and computers. They will initially beg for TV and computers, but if you stick to it, they will find something to do; they will get creative with their time. Kids aren’t going to lay on the couch and stare at a TV that is off forever.
Not being busy all the time allows for a mental break. Not rushing from here to there and trying to remember all the stuff to bring from one place to another will allow for a mental break. Not checking Facebook, Twitter, text messages will allow for space to breathe.
It will also allow for thinking creatively. If we stop feeding our children ideas and planning events for them, they will come up with ideas on their own along with ways to implement them.
Please consider what summer break means to you and your family. Take some time to slow down. Everyone in the family will benefit from doing nothing and just being relaxed.