They have too many activities and no time to relax and just “be.” Experts say this isn’t good for elementary-age children.
At this age, kids start thinking in more abstract terms. They’re figuring out how to solve their own problems. A tool that helps them do these things is daydreaming. Daydreaming helps children:
- Unwind and reduce stress. Kids who have unstructured time learn to be alone and at peace with themselves.
- Be creative. When we’re relaxed, the creative side of the brain gets busy. It invents, organizes, rehearses and explores.
- Develop an inner life. Self-reflection may dictate what hobby or career a child might embrace.
- Develop empathy. Kids can imagine how others might think or feel.
You can’t tell your child to daydream. But you can encourage it. You can:
- Make time for free time. For instance, schedule an hour or more of TV-free, “do nothing” time after dinner.
- Give your child space. A special place where he won’t be disturbed—like a hammock, or soft pillows in a corner.
- Set an example. Let your child see you sitting on the porch, gazing at the stars.
- Build downtime into family activities. After a ball game, relax on a hill. Watch the clouds.