30 DAYS of AWESOME PARENTING
(read about the adventure here)
Tip 24: Creative play, and more play, and more play
is the key to happy kids.
The best thing we can do for our kids is to let them be bored. For boredom is one of the keys to creative play. Boredom is the vacuum and a vacuum cannot stay empty for long. Life itself provides the golden drops of inspiration to create and fill the hole.
I have no qualms in declaring at least a few days of each week as ‘screen free’ (all media, television, ipads, iphones, games, nintendo, Wii) and I LOVE it when Ned tells me he is bored. I know that pure creative thought is NOT FAR OFF! I watch him as he grumbles and groans and mopes about the place, his ‘fillers’ gone, his dependencies unhooked. But in a matter of minutes, he takes himself off to create wondrous scenarios, storytelling magnificence, and artistic works all by himself.
Once he begins to play, the cloud of grizzles lifts and he is my wonder boy again. Light. Happy. Pure Imagination. (It is so predictable that I wonder why and how I ever let screen time back into my space at all, and I’m encouraged to tip the balance of home life in favour of even less screen time.)
Child’s play is real work, and I adore listening to them work out the world.
But sadly, more and more children are having less time to play. Some are barely allowed to play at all. And many children have forgotten how to play altogether.
So it is up to us as individuals to take a stand for play, and value it, and provide time for it with our children, in our families so that we become the beacons for a different way of living. Not rush, rush.. or overstimulation. But the old saying, less is more.
Less scheduled activities. Less driving to and from appointments or classes. Less eating on the run. Less input from screens. Less playdates and lessons and homework.
And more free time. More backyard play, and cubby houses, and climbing trees, and conversations with the neighbours, and more organically unfolding time to ride bikes, play ball, jump on the trampoline, build villages from blocks, dig in the sandpit, dress the dolls, host imaginary tea parties, to bake on the play kitchen and set up shops, and homes, and recreate ‘work’ spaces. Time to chill… and time for the seeds of ideas to embed, to grow, and to flourish… over hours, and days, and weeks.
To me, play is the foundation for lifelong creative thinking and I have NO DOUBT that the future entrepreneurs are the ones who’ve been blessed with this ‘slow’ imagination-building start to life. NO DOUBT at all.
So let’s take the road less travelled, and embrace play. Our little ones will love us for it.
Ask yourself, HOW can I fit in more play opportunities for my children this hour, this day, this week?
Here’s a hint:
Remove ONE ‘busy bee’ activity and replace it with nothing more than an opportunity for free time. Watch what happens!
Revisit your weekly schedule and ask yourself the question: ’Is this really necessary at this point in time?’
If it is, wonderful. Leave it alone. (Swimming lessons fit this category)
If it isn’t, rethink your reasons for scheduling it into your week. Does it still fit your intentions? If not, remove it. You can always pick it up again later.
Now, use this time for nothing more than free play.
PS: I have a whole chapter on PLAY in my book- how to support it, set it up, pack it away…and plenty of creative ideas for you to instigate or help expand their play imaginations without taking over. If play is on your agenda, you might like it!
Commit to the task by writing it down here in the comments below or in your 30 days of AWESOME journal.
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