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Why Nothing on the Schedule Is Sometimes a Good Thing

(c) 2005 by Cheryl Williams Levey, http://www.cherylsweb.com

Having our kids involved in sports and other structured,
planned after school activities is important for several
reasons. First, the kids get the opportunity to meet other
kids who are not in their class or school. They get to learn
a new skill or even just learn how to play with a team.
And keeping active, as opposed to lying in front of the
TV, is also good.

But there is too much of a good thing, I think. When I was
growing up, most days we went home after school. Did
homework, played outside, helped with dinner, etc. And
other than a week or two of day camp, we didn't do much
over the summer. But we also didn't sit inside watching TV
or playing video games. Is that why some kids' schedules
are more complicated than mine has ever been? Or is it
because a parent feels guilty for having to work? Or is it
because the parent thinks that keeping their children
engaged in learning and activity as much as possible is
healthy?

Personally, I think that, like with most things in life,
moderation is the key. If a child never has any kind of
down time, when does their imagination grow? When do
they learn how to be creative or to think for themselves or
to daydream or to entertain themselves? It's wonderful to have
kids involved in team sports or learning music or dance or
karate or drama, art, you name it, but for my kids, a general
rule is "two at a time." For example, one of my kids might take
football and guitar. Or drama and piano. With school, two extra
activities are enough. During the summer, we try to keep it
about the same so that they have some time to themselves
at home and because of vacation plans and other family
activities. A few weeks each summer are spent in swimming
lessons. The kids might go to a week or two of a day camp
of their choice.

But mostly, they play in our backyard, pretending to rescue
each other from floods (a baby pool) and imaginary disasters,
playing catch and basketball and lying in a hammock reading
a book or watching the night sky. They put out pretend fires
by squirting each other with the hose. They pretend to be in
an obstacle course running through the sprinkler. They blow
bubbles and draw pictures in chalk on the patio. They transform
their toys into elaborate rocket ships or race cars and even
without wheels, they pretend to race each other. In short, they
use their imagination and go to worlds no organized activity
could ever take them.

That's why, I would never book my kid's schedules for every
minute of the day. They do watch some TV and play some
video games, but mostly they are outside either acting out
scenes they have seen or just playing out things they've made
up themselves. If their schedules were all booked up, when would
they get to space or play with dinosaurs or be knights with pretend
swords? When would they be Jedi warriors or use their specially
equipped Spy Kid gadgets to save the world over and over? The
freedom to think and pretend is just as important as skills learned
in structured activities and time for this kind of play should be
scheduled just as other activities are.
_______________

Cheryl Williams Levey owns cherylsweb.com, a site
dedicated to showing you how to save time and money
while growing your home business. Do you have what
it takes to build a home business?
Find out here --> http://www.cherylsweb.com


 

 

 

 

 


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