The children of today are very busy – next to studying for school, they often study another language, play an instrument, play sports, or take part in some other extracurricular activity. While there is nothing wrong with those activities on their own, taking part in two or more at the same time can become overwhelming for any child, no matter how smart. Although having too much free time is not good, not having enough is just as bad. In other words, there needs to be balance. With that in mind, here are a few things you should know about your child’s free time.
Why having free time is important
There are many reasons why free time is extremely important for your child. While most parents have the best intentions in mind, over-scheduling your child can lead to anxiety, stress, and even depression. No matter how fun all the activities your child takes part in are, they still need to learn how to enjoy downtime and how to deal with simply being bored. Additionally, we all need time to relax, and while school might seem easy to us, for kids, it can still be exhausting.
Time for reflection
One of the reasons why free time is important is because it gives your child an opportunity to think. High school, elementary school, and even preschool can sometimes be stressful. All the challenges that they need to overcome require time to think them through and find the best way to manage them. After all, there will be many situations that your child will have to handle on their own, and in order to do so properly, they need to have enough time to actually think about them.
They need to daydream
We all love daydreaming occasionally, as it allows us to think about our future and consider all the possibilities out there. However, your child can’t daydream if they don’t have the time for it, or if they are too tired to do it. Plus, they probably would find the time to do it anyway. However, that time would be during one of their school classes, and this could lead to bad results in school. Allow your child enough time to think about who they want to be or what they want to do, and you might even be surprised by the results.
What are the best ways to spend free time?
There are many healthy ways to spend free time, and encouraging those ways can improve your child’s quality of life in more ways than one. Of course, they should be allowed to pursue their interests, but they should also be guided in trying out different things in order to find those interests.
Playing with peers is a great way for your child to not just have fun but also learn new things. This is especially important if you have a young child, since being a part of a children playgroup can help them develop their language, mobility, and social abilities.
Reading and Writing
Research has shown that children who spend their free time reading and writing have significantly better mental abilities. Besides improving their vocabulary and encouraging their creativity, reading different stories can also help children recognize different emotions, understand them, and cope with them when they start having them.
Spending quality time with your child can strengthen your relationship and set a strong foundation for your child’s adolescent years. It can also help you build long-lasting memories, and what a better way to show your child how much you love them than by actually spending time with them. Finally, spending time together gives your child an opportunity to share with you any thoughts, worries, or problems they might have. This gives you a chance to solve those issues together, and, consequently, build trust as well.
In order for your child to grow up into a mature, successful adult, they don’t need too many responsibilities and extracurricular activities. The key is in balance, and we all need time to unwind, including your child. So, let them take part in activities they enjoy, but make sure they have enough free time for developing their mental skills as well.