Sometimes its just nice to hang out.
So many kids these days are scheduled for every minute. Even in summer, on weekends and school holidays you would think they get a break, but kids are shuttled from camp to practices to games to holiday weekends, all without time to breathe or play.
I am obviously an adult and that sort of schedule would leave me stressed out, cranky and frantic. When I find myself over-scheduled, I seek downtime. How could it be any different with kids?
Downtime isn’t something that just happens, though. You have to make it happen.
Here are a few things I have done to create more downtime with my kids.
We cut back on activities.
The first way to create space for down time is to cut back on activities.
We set limits. If given a choice of two activities, ask your child what they would prefer. My kids always picked swimming lessons over everything.
Making sure there is plenty of unscheduled time gives children the opportunity to use their imaginations, relax, and learn about the world around them – three very necessary things.
Downtime doesn’t necessarily mean quiet volume, but for children, quiet time is essential to get them ready for sleep. Have you ever tried to put a toddler to bed who is overstimulated?Quiet activities, such as drawing, reading and crafts, can allow the child to ramp back energy levels and focus on something that is relaxing.
Quiet time ideas
- A trip to the library every other week,
- A quick run through the dollar store for paper and drawing supplies
- A stroll along the beach
Make time to be bored
When I was young and complained of being bored, my mother would look at me pityingly. Not because she felt sorry for me that I was listless but that I hadn’t come up with something interesting to do, like reading, playing Four Square, riding my bike, or even organizing my room. Being bored, her reaction implied, meant that I was boring. She might make suggestions, but it was up to me to figure out how to escape my own monotony.
Jacob my youngest child starts school next year so I have been embracing downtime with him. We were recently sent some Christmas Lego and he really enjoys watching me and helping me put it together *the Reindeer and Santa pack were aged 6+ years.
Sounds good to me.
Let me know in the comments what you and your children do for downtime? and let me know if you like our short video.