I have recently been reading a great book called, The Self-Motivated Kid: How to Raise Happy, Healthy Children Who Know What They Want and Go After It (Without Being Told) by Shimi Kang as part of a book club with my kids’ elementary school. It talks about raising happy and healthy kids, and who doesn’t want that? The book makes the argument that our society has mixed up priorities and has our kids over-scheduled and pushed to the limits. (And we are too!!) I could really identify with the feeling of pressure to do it all! Our culture has a “more is better” mentality, and that if your kids aren’t in lots of activities, sports, classes etc. they are missing out! The book presents the idea of needing balance in our lives in order to have the “best” in life! Her prescription for balance in our lives and the lives of our children is as follows:
-Give your child some free time
-Breathe deeply and be mindful
Part of the balance prescription was free time (that doesn’t involve a screen)! Allowing children to have free time in their lives so that they can PLAY is a huge part of the book. It talks about all kinds of interesting studies and research that shows how creative play actually affects people’s brains and allows them to be successful in life, and how a lack of play can have negative outcomes! In short, we have our priorities mixed up, and we are selling ourselves and our kids short with our crazy lives and hectic schedules! I couldn’t help but think of our school while reading this book and how it really embraces this mindset and really understands this idea and how learning takes place through play, especially at this age!
So here is our challenge for the month: let’s try to spend some time playing with our kids! We might have to say “no” to some activities or events. We might need to clear out our schedule a bit. It might feel irresponsible at first, but I think once you start to achieve and experience the balance that she speaks of, it will be so freeing you won’t want to go back! There are no right and wrongs here, embrace your inner child and allow yourself and your kids some free time to play! It will have lasting benefits! Let us know how it goes!