Unstructured Idle Time, #Parenting

Kids schedules are more packed than adults these days. They go to school. Come back. Go for an instrument/vocal. Then maybe for some sports like Tennis. Add in a visual arts class like Drawing some days. Most of them will have at least one or two classes every day of the week. Weekends are spent going and coming from either Birthday parties and a class or two again.

When they have a breather, they need a gadget. The tabs, smart phones, Wii, PSP, Xbox all vie for their attention. TV is a thing of past. It is videos on you tube now. Their time is structured to the last minute. And in all these activities, it is the other person/gadget taking the lead, telling them what to do.

There is no time for unstructured activity. There are enough studies supporting the benefits of idle time. This is true even with Adults. We need to be entertained all the time by someone else. It has to be a TV, movies, books etc. And those parents that plan to the last minute are considered super heroes and everyone tries to emulate them.  I have even heard parents boast about the number of extracurricular things that their kids are into and the amount they spent.

Do we really need to cram the days of the kids to the last minute?

And then we make them exhibits when someone comes home. They need to perform for the audience to. It is one thing if the kids like to do. But if they do not like to, then they are pushed and prodded. I have also been guilty of this behavior. But now, I respect my son’s wishes and he has a choice if he does not want to.

He also has some extra curricular activities. But his time is not packed every minute of every day. He does have time to get “bored” and tinker with things. This bored time should not be diverted to giving a gadget.

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