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Calling for a Little Peace and Quiet
Calling for a Little Peace and Quiet
How time spent alone can foster creativity and independence among children.
By Christa Melnyk Hines

Ever felt the need for a peaceful retreat if for no other reason than to collect your thoughts? Your kids might need to do the same. Some experts fear that in a world muddied with thousands of distractions, structured activities and constant entertainment options, our children do not spend enough time alone simply relaxing or engaging in quiet, unplugged play.

“The demise of children learning to amuse themselves has negative consequences…when they become adults,” says Ann Dunnewold, a psychologist and author of Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box. “As a society, we’re lacking on this kind of time.”

Children who are constantly entertained prove less likely to show initiative and more likely to have problems motivating themselves upon entering the work world. On the other hand, kids given regular time alone are more likely to exhibit time management and problem solving abilities. Time alone also fosters creativity, self-confidence and independence. Plus, solitude gives kids the opportunity to drive their own play without having to compromise or go along with what the group demands.

Follow your child’s cues. No doubt, extracurricular activities enhance a child’s physical and social development. However, when those activities dominate a child’s day, they don’t get ample opportunity to unwind. A child’s reaction to overstimulation varies depending on their personality, but typical signs that your kiddo might need some down time include crankiness, irritability and not getting along with others.

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December 2019