If you know how children spend their free time you understand their energy cycle
When talking about how children spend their free time, we would love to say that all they do is settle down with a calculus workbook and solve the mysteries of the universe. The fact of the matter is that while some kids might actually consider this, most choose to spend their down time in other ways.
The key for parents is that we find a way to allow them to choose what they want to do most of the time, and steer them towards particular activities other times while finding the perfect blending of the two approaches.
Depending on the age of the children, active play is going to take different forms but every child should have some active play worked into their rest and relaxation time. For younger kids this can mean just going outside and literally running around in circles. Games like tag and hide and seek are popular for the younger set because it allows them to vent their excess energy in a fun and productive way.
For older children that active play might be a little more focused. Some kids are going to go into sports, they might spend their time playing football and baseball or basketball but they are getting in their active play in one way or another. Some might even claim that being told what to do at a sports practice isn’t actually free time but it certainly beats sitting in a class room or cleaning the house from one end to the other. Kids choose to play these sports and because of that it qualifies as free time.
While playing tag and freeze tag and hide and seek are some active ways to spend their time, even the youngest kids aren’t going to be able to run around constantly. Once their energy is burnt out they can play inside with toys or games. Whether talking about figures, construction toys like Legos, toy weapons or just stuffed animals, playing is a key part of building an imagination.
Because of this, you should allow them to play as much as humanly possible as long as they are doing it in a healthy way. When they have free time, this kind of play should always be encouraged. Of course, even the most active mind also needs a break every now and then and that brings us to the final section.
Rest and Relaxation
This is more than just laying down and taking a nap. Resting and relaxing can mean a whole host of different ways to while away the hours. Settling down with a good book is certainly one way to spend some time in a fun and productive way. Of course if kids don’t feel like they have the time to settle in with a book, there are always audio books, this way they can do something else while they listen to their favorite author.
Watching a movie, either going to the theater or watching it from the comfort of a couch is just another way in which a kid might choose to spend their time. While there is nothing wrong with this particular approach in small doses, this should be something of a treat for children. This is where you should step in and monitor just how much of their time is spent doing this.
Allowing children to sort of rot away on the couch isn’t going to be good for them. The same goes for playing video games. In controlled doses it is just fine, in larger doses it will mean making it harder when the free time is over and they need to focus back on what they are supposed to be doing.