Holidays are here!!! With one week left it’s time to make the most of that precious time with your children and this beautiful weather. Two weeks is hard to keep up with that boundless energy your children have, but is it your responsibility to make sure they’re being stimulated 24/7? Oh hell no! When did becoming a parent mean you have just signed up to a 24/7 watch program? The greatest gift we can give to our children is independent play or unstructured play. What’s this you ask? – Give them your iphone? – Sit them in front of a television or computer screen? – Give them $20 to get out of the house where they then roam the streets eating cold rock and drinking bottles of Fanta? …. PLEASE don’t do any of these things! Our minds are a sponge when we’re young we want to learn, we want answers, we want to test boundaries. These feelings actually continue through our lifetime the more our environments change as well, and it’s apart of our human instinct to learn to adapt and develop from these changes.
Unstructured play is to give your child no prompts or materials for how they can spend their time, to let their imaginations expand and see what they’re capable of.
In an outside environment just in their backyard they could discover the plants growing, create a fortress, perhaps a whole new world. Their eyes will open to the animals that occupy this area, or say hi to the neighbours over the fence instead of chatting to them through a keyboard. In just this example your child has just learnt about social interaction, they have embraced confidence that will be a key skill in many more life situations to come. By creating this new world or a game your child has just learnt to problem solve, they have become a leader. What if they’re bored you say?
Let them be bored.
Why is that our lives have to constantly be scheduled we’re bad enough as adults, but to then inflict this stress onto our children… Wake up, eat this, go to school, sit here, do that, don’t do that, and then it’s homework, and the number of after school activities. I’m not saying team sports or learning and instrument is a bad thing but I encourage you to take a step back and look at just how busy your child is. How does this constant busy lifestyle you as adult live affect your well-being? Do you feel stressed? Are you tired? Are you sick? Are you agressive and moody? Think of how your child feels, are they overworked as well? Leave them alone. Let them figure out what they want without your constant prompting and enrolling. Let them see the world, let them feel this world. If they happen to be out playing so long they catch a cold, well great they just learnt about their bodies, and that they’re not indestructible, perhaps when they start driving this lesson will save their life knowing they have to be careful. If they run too fast and lose balance and fall, great; They just learnt next time how to adjust their steps and body to be more balanced.
Be the example:“Monkey see Monkey Do” right?
What are you doing to encourage your children to live, move and embrace life more? Show them. You’re never too old to begin, if you have forgotten how to explore and play, perhaps it’s time to learn again. Do it together!
These school holidays, my recommendation to you and your child is to take a step back, be creative, be spontaneous, if your every minute is not scheduled well that’s ok! In a world where we’re all plugged in, rewire your child and yourself to the chill the fuck out, (excuse the language).
If you’re free this Monday September 26. Come along to my Mindful Walking group at Mt Donna Buang Summit. The activity is free but you do need to book in. Simply Contact me on 0431302634, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s the link to the event with more information.
Our backyard is a wondrous place so go out and discover.