School is out and summer is officially here. These words may be music to some parents and cause anxiety for others as you attempt to navigate summer to-do lists, childcare and extra-curricular activities to make sure your child’s days are filled with fun and educational activities that keep them out of mischief.
While scheduled activities and a full schedule of swimming lessons, sport meets and play dates can provide ample opportunities to keep your child amused and challenged, studies have actually shown that occasional boredom is okay too and can a be very beneficial to children.
In fact, some researchers suggest actually scheduling time where there is nothing to do. This may sound counterintuitive to some, and obviously it must be under the right circumstances, making sure your child is supervised and safe, but this time can actually be very productive in your child’s development.
Downtime can often help your child channel their own creativity, allowing their minds to be quiet for a time and pursue their own creative amusements rather than the constant stimulation that comes from video games, movies or other common entertainment tools.
“We parents influence our children’s level of motivation. A motivated child is one who is raised to seek new experiences, not one who is endlessly protected from boredom,” says Michael Unger, Ph.D. in nurturing resilience and contributor to Psychology Today. By scheduling your child’s time to include “free time” it can actually be beneficial for them and take some pressure off you as well.
So instead of buying the next video game, take a drive to the art store and grab some craft supplies to have at home or find some musical instruments to have available for your children to pick up and play. If you have an old camera, maybe your child would enjoy learning photography.
The point is, have some items available that children can entertain themselves with and that can help foster their imagination and creative abilities instead of constantly receiving input from technology and planned activities to resolve their boredom. Give your child permission to use their imagination!
Summer does not have to be boring either and for the activities that you do plan out, make it a priority to spend quality family time together whenever possible.
Whether your family enjoys hiking, spending time at the beach or playing games at home, put together a bucket list of items that you want to do as a family this summer and have fun planning them out together.
Have your child get involved in the planning too and make a checklist so you and your child can get excited about upcoming activities or outings. Quality family time is crucial to a child’s development and helps them in many ways both mentally and physically, creating a sense of belonging and building self-esteem while allowing you to reconnect together on a deeper more quality level.
These ideas are simple and completely customizable for your family’s needs and wants. Hopefully you can find a balance this summer, creating more memories by simply spending more quality time with friends and family without having the undue pressure of filling every moment of the day.
Logan Roche is with Hale ’Opio Kauai convened a support group of adults in our Kauai community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Esther Solomon at email@example.com. For more information about Hale ‘Opio Kauai, please go to www.haleopio.org