These days parents overload their children with way too many activities. And the minute children have a break in school, they rush off to some trip.
I believe this is harming our children. There is too much “I have to entertain them” and not enough down time.
Why? Most parents I know get anxious when there is down time. They feel like if they are at home, they have to be the party planner, the cruise director and the stand-up comic, and that thought stresses them out.
Or these parents don’t want to sit still because then they are forced to think about things they don’t want to — i.e. that closet that is crammed with way too many clothes or the credit card bill.
I am here to tell you that kids’ brains need down time in order to grow.
Next week is winter break. And a lot of parents will fall into this trap — get on a plane or in a car for a long drive, or they will cram the time with all kinds of activities, sweets and other things just to keep their kids busy.
I rarely go out of town when my kids have off school. Why? I like my kids to have a lot of downtime because that is when their brains have time to really expand.
And, two, I think it’s stressful to travel with an 8- and 7-year-old. I don’t find it restful or relaxing.
I think we need to start a movement to make our lives simpler.
My family will lay on the couch and watch movies for most of the week they have off. They will go outside. They will read books.
And, yes, they will get bored. But when they are bored, that’s when the magic happens. The will have nothing else to do but create a make-believe world involving Barbies and every one of my grandmother’s tchotchkes, which are breakable. You should hear the drama they create.
I am here to give you permission to do nothing and go nowhere this holiday season, and watch how your kids relax.