Written by: Nanny Secours
Monday evening, swimming; Tuesday evening, piano; Saturday morning, dance and drawing... The thing is you dedicate an enormous amount of your weekend time transporting your children from one event to the other, whether it's soccer, hockey, figure skating, basketball, cross-country or chess.... Man oh man!
Does it sometime seem to you that parenting equals to being a soccer mom (or dad)? Because you want your children to achieve their personal best so badly, you sign them up for all kinds of activities to stimulate their creativity, sporting skills, artistic talent, and so on.
It is true that we live in a fast-paced society. In the morning, parents are busy running to ensure a timely drop off at school or at the daycare and to make it on time for work. In the evening, they get caught up in accomplishing yet again another set of routine tasks such as cooking dinner, packing lunches, and helping with homework, baths, bedtime, etc. Housekeeping, laundry and (if possible) grocery tasks are all done on weeknights for a bit of free time on weekends―even though this extra time is mostly used for shuttling the kids around from game to game, and for hosting well-anticipated fancy dinners for family and friends. Better yet, we are asking ourselves where this sense of exhaustion comes from as we have trouble waking up to the sound of the alarm clock on Monday morning. No kidding?
Have you noticed that six-year-olds are proving just as overburdened as their parents in some cases? My children are not spared I must confess. Lately, one thing has occurred to me: I’ve been feeling guilty for quite some time over the fact that the “one and only” after-school activity of my seven-year-old boy is soccer. And yet, he doesn’t seem to be complaining about it. Quite the contrary, he spends all his time riding his bicycle in front of the house, playing around the yard and helping me cook dinner.
Although we all agree that stimulation is beneficial to the development of your child, there is no evidence that he’s required to pursue all areas of interest. Like everything, after-school activities are better with moderation. Children often have a tightly planned series of activities lined up. We as adults are worn out. Don’t you think the same might be true for children?
In the absence of organized activities, children are often quick to complain of boredom. “I don’t know what to do!” Such a scene is fairly common during the first few vacation days spent at home. They have yet to learn how to fire their imagination. Similarly, children and adults alike need to learn the art of doing less. Stop rushing around for a moment and rest in the moment; your willingness to take part in an activity will naturally manifest itself. Moreover, children must understand that not knowing what to do is quite ok. Imagination is likely to have the upper hand eventually. A stroke of genius will surely light up the mind. In the meantime, there is no harm in sampling the joys of relaxing!
What if we spent time doing less? We would teach our children a lesson: there are different paces to life; constantly kicking into high gear is not an obligation. Let's try for a moment to find a peaceful and pleasant activity, such as wearing pyjamas all day, or enjoying a good book while sipping a hot coffee. Chances are our children will find in no time something to do on their own.
And let's bet we'll all acquire a taste for doing less!