Without Free Time Kids Do Not Learn to Value Their Time
Students in my class often asked whether they could have some free time?
When free time was scheduled once a week I noticed how the kids enjoyed it.
Kids are busier than ever. A full schedule during the school day and all the extracurricular activities after school, prevents kids from relaxing? It’s important that children have interests outside of school and family, but how much is too much?
Having a busy life is great, but the potential for over-scheduling is a real concern. You probably lead a busy life yourself with work, family, and household chores. Keeping your child busy may seem like the best thing to do, but there can be too much of a good thing. You need free time, and so do your children.
Over-Scheduling and Stress
Even though being in lots of activities is fun, it’s also stressful. Homework, dinnertime, and fun with the family are important, as well. If everyone is running around in different directions, there won’t be any free time. And, when there isn’t any downtime, stress starts to bubble up and boil over. Parents and kids both feel this stress. When kids are asked to be on the go 24/7 they get exhausted and feel stress.
This stress may even cause your kids to lose the motivation they once had for the activities they love.
Busy Family Scenario
On an average night, your family may not get home until well after 6 o’clock at night. Then you run around getting dinner ready and kids are headed off to do homework. By the time you’re finished with dinner, you barely have time to relax before going to bed. Then, the alarm goes off and you are up and at it again.
This schedule, when repeated day in and day out, is hard on you, and it’s hard on your kids.
But, this is how it is all week since the kids are busy with school and you’re busy with work. The weekend’s coming so we can all just relax, right?
Wrong. The weekend comes and you have chores and errands. The kids will probably have games and more activities to attend. You find yourself running all weekend just like you did all week. When is your downtime? From the looks of it, not very often.
Schedule Free Time to Slow Down
You’re great at scheduling all your activities, right? Why not schedule in a bit of slow time for you and your kids, as well? Everyone needs to have a day off. You need time to clear your head and relax, and so does the rest of the family. Just because kids have all the energy in the world doesn’t mean they don’t need to slow down and relax. That high energy can fool parents into thinking their kids are always ready to go.
It’s your job to give your child some downtime to relax, even when it doesn’t appear they need it.
You can let your child enjoy many extra-curricular activities throughout the year, but the key is to limit overlapping activities during each season.
Scatter a few short summer camps or weekend excursions carefully throughout the year.
Schedule some good downtime in between for every activity.
Your child needs unscheduled time, too – time to pick wildflowers, build a snowman, listen to music, doodle, play games, or just dream.
Including a movie or game at home, or a picnic at the park is fine.
Your children will then learn it’s not only okay to relax, it’s part of a healthy and happy life!
Here are some free time activities to share with your child