I know it has been a while since I posted and I apologize but it makes a great topic for this post. I was so scheduled for the last month or so that I didn’t have time to do much of anything except work. It got me thinking about kids and how scheduled their lives are these days. I notice our society (and I am guilty of) thinking more is better and that’s not always the case. Just as I like and need down time to read or make plans with friends, kids need time to be kids. This is when they get to develop and explore skills that they have been working on, whatever that may be. For instance if a child is always in skilled therapies when do they get a chance to integrate and practice the skills in their everyday life? When do they get to just be a kid? Even kids not in therapy are often ‘over-scheduled’ and miss out on free play time where they get to figure out what happens next and develop their imagination, play and social skills.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying kids shouldn’t have routine or structure but sometimes ‘therapy vacations’ are good, or just a vacation can be good. This doesn’t mean its time for them to sit in a chair all day in front of the tv or video games or computer but rather they get to play with their siblings or mom and dad, or just do something completely new. There are some great ads on the radio right now for adults to do something new daily or weekly (such as drive a different way to work, or eat with your opposite hand) to keep their brain challenged. Well kids are the same way. New or novel environments and situations allow them to challenge themselves organically rather than on a structured setting. For kids that are receiving therapy, this chance at a break or a novel environment provides their bodies and brains get a chance to integrate skills they have been learning and then give them the opportunity to ‘play’ with their new found skills.
So, just like every once in a while we adults need to take a mental health day or take time to unwind, your kids need it too. They may surprise you and create some unexpected results as a result!