I was recently at a dentist appointment with my daughter when schools were about to start their summer break. The dental hygienist asked me if I planned to put my daughter in any summer camps. I told her no. She then asked how I was going to keep her busy. I was a bit surprised by this question. What am I going to do to keep her busy? Why can’t she keep herself busy?
Maybe the assumption was that I would be working during the day and my daughter needed to attend some kind of camp during the day because school was out. I get that. But it seems to be more than that.
Our culture seems to have taken the busyness of adulthood and passed it onto our children with overscheduled days and summers. It has become the expected way to raise children these days. With an abundance of after school activities, busy weekends, and filled-up summers, we are forgetting something. There is importance in doing nothing.
Unscheduled days allow my kids to spend hours and hours on what interests them. Creativity blossoms and self-directed learning takes over as my children explore their passions. I greatly value this. Self-directed exploration is a huge part of learning that is much more difficult to achieve when kids are kept busy.
When I told the hygienist that my daughter keeps herself busy, she said I was lucky. No, this has nothing to do with luck. It has been a purposeful decision to give my children empty hours.
Beautiful empty hours that my children can fill with their passions.