Monday, December 17, 2012

Cultivating Their Inner World



How often do you hear "I am bored" from your child? I often wonder if this phrase is the result of a lie we have been fed - a parenting lie. You know the one - you must take them fun places, you should entertain them, socialize them, fill their day with activities, etc.

I ponder about the things I've mentioned above and you know what - these things do not seem to evoke a sense of wonder. They just keep them busy. That's not my goal as a parent and it one of the reasons I don't jump at every opportunity to get out of the house with the kids. 

You know what, it is working so far - this selective approach to the activities we engage in. Most almost 4 year olds may be bored with the things that Baby E adores, it is so easy to make her happy. 

Perhaps I don't want them to become part of the pack, to be like everyone else, to 'blend in' - I want them to be themselves and to discover who they really are meant to be.

Perhaps it is good for kids to be left to themselves at times, to invent, to make-believe? What if we don't leave them any time to do that? What if all they know is school, clubs, activities, classes, parties, 'organized activities', lots of screen time. They are always shown what to do and what to think. Always scheduled. Planned. In a way already decided for them. Fed a non-stop barrage of information.

Does the word overstimulated come to mind?

Can we just let kids be? Do you know what they are capable of when you don't decide for them?

It may be a hard habit to break if your kids are already older and all they know is how to constantly be entertained or chauffeured from place to place. But if they are small, start now. Let them play. Let them build. Let them create. Stop dragging them to every local event or venue, they are not going to miss much.

In fact, they will miss something much bigger if they will never know themselves. If they never get lost in a book. If they never spend an hour just daydreaming. If they never invent their own toys. If adults take free-play away from them for fear of them being bored or 'unsocialized'.

How do you find the balance?


Photo: December 2012, Baby E Chasing Geese

2 comments:

  1. I gotta tell you moving from MA to WA makes that habit hard to brake. We were so use to have a museum membership especially during cold times, or other simple things that are free. Here in WA country side not much of an entreatment, besides parks, it's quite noticeable untill you grow out of it.
    Although i agree kids need to adjust and enjoy getting to know themselves.

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  2. Unfortunately I don't. Due to a difference in parenting philosophies my hubby and I never came to an agreement on things like this or on parenting in general. I very much wanted things to be like this and for a while it almost looked like we had something close but as the kids got older it didn't work out that way. I'm very distressed about all the time and effort I poured into my oldest children just to have it snatched away by video games and the drive to be constantly going somewhere or doing some activity or another. My family is over stressed, sleep deprived and constantly cranky and yet they still continue to sign themselves up for more. It's an awful mixture that leads to constant drama and unhappiness.

    Good for you for seeing the importance of just letting your children be and not over scheduling them so their little minds can grow as they were meant to. I hope you're able to continue in this path to raise your children the right way.

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