We are living in the age of superwomen, superkids, and being super busy. "I am so busy" is a statement that is often perceived as a badge of victory. Much has been written about over-scheduled kids and their over-anxious moms, but in the competitive world we live in, how can moms break out of the trap and let their kids engage in unstructured play time? We ask a few moms on what they think.
Ruchita Dar Shah founder of online mom community, First Moms Club, says that are many benefits to letting children have lots of unscheduled time for themselves.
"I am a bit of a dinosaur mom (read lazy) so I love boredom, which in my dictionary is not ‘boredom’ but free play or unstructured time. I personally believe it is super healthy, as it allows children the chance to explore their inner and outer self, which is the beginning of true creativity. Free play helps children to explore their own passions, to imagine and create."
If a child’s day is more about going from one class to another , I fear that s/he will get conditioned and grow up to always look for someone to instruct them and not explore their own sense of imagination or enterprise. So being ‘busy’ should not be the new cool and its good to be BORED !
Kiran Manral, mom and best-selling author, agrees. She is a great believer of unstructured play and said that she used to give her son two hours of mandated unstructured play every evening!
"Doing nothing is the most important thing you could let a kid do, (unless of course home work and school projects are sobbing for their attention) because in the space between boredom and curiosity is where self learning begins."
Suniya Luthar, psychology professor at Columbia told the New York Times that lots of scheduled time can be good, and that the number of activities a child does is not problematic. It is the messages that parents give to their children vis a vis performance. If parents focus too much on results, then a child can start to feel like her performance determines her identity.
Indeed, working mom Mohua Gupta allows her children to pursue different activities and quit if they are not enjoying themselves. Her daughter used to take dance class, but soon left that to pursue basketball twice a week. Too many classes are never beneficial, she says.
Deborah Cohen, professor of humanities, said at the Times Lit Fest Mumbai that smaller families mean that parents often project their dreams, ambitions and motivations on to their children. This leads to obsessive parenting.
Neha Kare, founder of Universe of Moms and National Sales Capability head at a liquor giant, urges moms to take a break!
"Simply amusing our children endlessly may actually do them more harm than good. They will never learn how to act autonomously, accept responsibility for their own well-being, seek out challenges that interest them, or learn how to self-motivate.So occasionally boredom is actually good and its a great break for moms like you ! Dear mommy take a break."
She says that when school breaks rolls around you are expected to be Master Entertainer. It is important to let kids seek new experiences on their own.
The antidote to boredom is to provide children with an environment that lets them experience autonomy.
You heard her- take a break! And trust that you will be able to find the balance between over-scheduling and letting your kids roam undisciplined.