Activities are important for your kids for growth, learning and development. But downtime, a time with no planned activities, is just as important for a healthy balance. Following are some reasons why kids need a break and some ideas for creating downtime for your kids.
Why kids need downtime. Planned activities are a great way for kids to learn and grow. They teach kids new skills and help them find things they like and develop their strengths. But just as we need some time to ourselves as parents, kids also need time to relax and just enjoy life.
When kids have their days planned with activities, they don’t have time just to be kids. Even if part of their activities include scheduled playtime, they need time to be free to choose what they do. According to an article on Parenting 24/7, too much planned activities can cause stress for the entire family.
Downtime will give kids a chance to deal with stress, ignite their creativity and gain independence. By allowing your kids some time every day, your kids can learn time management skills by deciding what they will do in their free time.
Creating downtime for your kids. The best way to create downtime for your kids is to limit the number of activities they can be involved in. This is especially important in families with more than one child. There is only so much time in the day, so it should be decided as a family which planned activities will be pursued.
Encourage downtime by keeping books on hand your child might enjoy reading, If your child likes to write, get your child a journal or notebook and pens or pencils to write their thoughts down if they’d like.
If your kids are used to having their day planned, you may have to give them ideas on how to use their downtime. This is ok as long as the kids are the ones to choose what they do with that time.
You may find that in order to create downtime for your kids, it has to be scheduled like any other activity. Just like any other activity, this time should be kept and not omitted for other planned activities.
Downtime doesn’t have to always be alone time. You could watch a movie together or play a game as a family. Be sure the kids have a choice in the family activity and that you provide a relaxing atmosphere.
Remember that every little detail does not have to be planned for family activities to be used as downtime. The purpose of creating downtime for your kids is to allow for spontaneity and fun and for your kids to do what they do best – be kids.
Parenting 24/7; Overscheduling Stresses Children and Families