Many parents and even grandparents seem to be convinced that a busy child is a happy one. They fill their child’s day with school, hobbies and sporting activities. Some children’s days are synced to their parents’ diaries and are constantly reminded that they should be somewhere, doing something.
Have you ever sat down to a busy day in front of the computer and having learned that the internet was off, were lost as to what to do with yourself? Did you find something useful to do or did you go and watch TV?
Time is something we value highly, but which we abuse. We try to fit so many things into our days, and our children’s, it is as if time is going to run out soon if we don’t use it all up.
What would happen though if our children had nothing to do? Is there any benefits of sitting still and being quiet? What happens if we turn off screens and … drumroll … did nothing?
Time to be Curious
Research has shown that children who are more curious are more intelligent. These are children who see something and ask questions. Why does it rain? Where do butterflies go at night? Why is that person in a wheelchair and I’m not?
Being curious is something which comes naturally for most children. Their inquisitive minds want to know how their world works and why.
Curiosity can be taught by spending quiet times outside. Going for a walk, for example, is a great way to tune out of a busy life and relax. You might stop at a tree and encourage your child to admire its leaves. You might begin a discussion about what lives in the tree. What characters from books love trees? And, why are trees important to our lives?
Time to Listen to the World
The world goes on around us, but not many people take time to listen carefully to it. They are far too busy and sometimes their minds are being distracted by music or podcasts while they are driving or even exercising.
It is important, however, to make time to just listen to what is going on around you. Can you hear the noise of traffic? Does it change? Are there engines which are louder than others, and why?
What about nature? What does the natural world sound like in your part of the world? Have you ever heard a lizard walking across pebbles? Does your child know that birds will clack their beaks loudly to ward off another bird?
Time to get Bored
Being bored is a great thing. Not because we adults have to listen to children complaining, but because it forces them to find something to do.
If you choose to turn off all screens and simply sit and look out of the window, you’ll be surprised at what a child might invent. It is important that you don’t give into the pleas and begging to be taken somewhere, though.
Instead, tough it out and allow your child’s mind to wander and explore. Show them that being still and simply ‘being’ is a great thing to do. It will not only challenge them, but it will also encourage them to use their minds in new and exciting ways.
People who have invented some of the most wonderful devices we use today took the time to think. The smartphone wasn’t invented by rushing from one event to another, for example.
Being still and peaceful is something we need to teach our children. That way their minds will learn to be more curious, more interested in what is going on around them, and remarkably, more intelligent.
About Susan Day
Susan Day is a passionate author, educator and, of course, a grandmother. She wants to empower all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren. Discover here the Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing.
Susan lives in the country Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, two rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.
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