All over the country, kids are looking forward to their summer break. A few weeks into the summer, you may be wondering what your kids are supposed to do for two or three months without school. Many parents encourage summer camps or other scheduled activities, but there is a lot of value to letting your kids roam freely as they please. And sometimes that means they’ll do nothing at all. Here are five very good reasons for just letting your kids play this summer.
They’ve Worked Hard
While many adults look back on their school days with nostalgia, being a student can be stressful. Even if you don’t remember dealing with last-minute assignments, loads of homework, difficult teachers, or stressful interactions with peers, your child is right in the middle of all that. As much as we think kids these days have it easy, life seems anything but calm and relaxing to them.
Your children have worked hard all year long to keep up in class, make good grades, and keep abreast of what their friends are doing. They deserve a break as much as the adults do. When you let your child really take time off to do nothing or just have fun and play, they’ll go back to school in the fall refreshed.
It Gets Them Moving
Summer is one of the best times to just have fun playing, because it’s often warm and sunny outside. If your kids don’t have the option to stare at a TV or tablet all day, they’ll come up with games to play that get them moving. Instead of paying for summer camp, you may be better off giving your child a bike or skateboard. However, more than any material object, your child just needs to be allowed to spend time outside and inside with friends as they please. Whether they play hide and seek, create imaginary worlds, or build a fort, they’ll be on their feet all day.
Encourage Emotional Growth
School-age kids are usually overscheduled. Additionally, from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed, someone else is in charge of their day. Lessons, homework, and afterschool activities don’t leave a lot of room for your child to discover other things that might interest them. When you let your kids be in charge of their days, you’ll encourage emotional growth that can’t be achieved through structured activities.
You’ll find that your child will come up with a lot of interesting things to do during the day. Granted, not all of them will be appropriate, which is why it’s good to have some parental supervision. If possible, it may be better to let your child learn from their mistakes. More importantly, don’t worry about them getting dirty. Teach them how to do their own laundry instead.
Boredom Encourages Them to Use Their Imagination
Most parents get annoyed when their children tell them that they’re bored. And we’re quick to come up with suggestions on what your kids could be doing – none of them will help. Instead of trying to help your child find something to do, let them be bored once in a while. Out of boredom come great things, because being bored encourages your child to use their imagination. Alternatively, ask your child to do some chores when they tell you that they’re bored. You’ll probably find that their boredom evaporates into thin air quite suddenly.
If your child comes up with a new game to play, you’re welcome to join them. Summer is a great time to throw a Frisbee with your child or teach them how to swim, too. But it’s also okay to just sit there and relax while your children entertain themselves. This is their chance to do whatever they feel like, which is a pretty powerful feeling for a child.
They Can Do Nothing
In our society, there is a stigma to doing nothing at all. If you don’t accomplish something in one day, you may even consider yourself lazy. However, there’s nothing wrong with doing nothing. Many adults have forgotten what it’s like, but taking a real break can refresh your body and mind. You can just go with the flow for a little while. Kids certainly need the downtime to process the new experiences they’re bombarded with every day.
If you do want to supplement your toy collection, you can use the recommendations of the leading toy organization ASTRA. They pride themselves on recommending the best toys for kids.