29 September 2014 09:51 AM

Kids Need Regular Alone Time

by Dr. Rick

There’s a lot of stimulation in kids’ worlds.  TV, video games, extracurricular activities, sports, hobbies, studying, homework, school and all its social excitements, family activities, siblings, play dates, tutoring – that’s a lot to navigate every day.  Sometimes it’s good to have a moment or two of quiet respite, a time to regroup, to think, to reflect, to slow down.

I’ve noticed in classrooms that some of kids’ favorite times are the DEAR schedules (“Drop Everything And Read”), the silent reading assignments, and the quiet periods where they can put their thoughts in order.

More parents than I can count tell me they’ve transferred these quiet classroom moments into family room moments.  They don’t have to take a lot of time; they just have to be regular.  The benefits are immediate and salubrious. 

Sort of like a Time Out, but a good one, a reward even.

Here are some of the things parents tell me their kids are doing in their Alone Times. 

  1. Reading.  Always the best one.  Opens worlds.
  2. Drawing.  Painting, too.  Indulge their artistic sides.
  3. Writing.  Let them exercise their brains with creative stories or non-fiction.
  4. Singing and playing musical instruments.  Music helps learning.  You can look it up.
  5. Playing with Legos and other creative toys.  Popular, brain-training, and fun.
  6. Designing.  New cars, sports equipment, fashion, play areas, anything.
  7. Discovering.  New talents.  Discovery is the primary job of youth.
  8. Thinking.  Figuring things out.  Solving problems.  Being, well, thoughtful.
  9. Praying. Or some form of spirituality. Kids think about this. Really. 

The benefits of regular alone time are enormous, not the least of which is building independence.  Kids indulge their imaginations, their curiosities, their creativity, and personal quests.  Video games and internet browsing are okay, but not a steady diet.  Encourage curiosity, creativity, and the lifelong gift of being comfortable with oneself.   Shhh.


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