Doing nothing is good for kids – and parents

Posted by Samantha on October 3, 2011 in Letting Go, Over-scheduling, Perfectionism |

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.

Milan Kundera, Czech author (b. 1929)

I prefer to think that doing nothing is in fact doing something: it is, quite precisely, “doing nothing” or if you prefer “being peaceful”.

As a child I was very prone to doing this kind of nothing.  It was fairly easy to do in those days: the over-scheduling phenomenon we see today simply didn’t exist in 1970s Ireland!

Sometimes when I do nothing, I’m thinking.  Sometimes I’m just looking, or listening.

Last week I noticed I was doing this with my children.  School was over and the weather was glorious.  So we sat on a blanket in the sunshine, my kids munching on an after-school snack, and we watched the busy world go by.

I used to feel guilty about this tendency I had to enjoy doing nothing.  After finding this quote I think I’m going let the last of that guilt go.

Our children can benefit enormously from learning that rest and renewal are part of a successful and happy life.

It really doesn’t do parents and children any good to be rushing around too much, always on the go and not having enough time to simply breathe and enjoy the beauty that is all around us.

So, here’s my parenting advice for today: STOP.  Slow down.  Hang out with your child, with no agenda or purpose beyond enjoying the moment.

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