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It’s much rarer nowadays, to have empty time or ‘free time’ during the week, especially with the demands of school, extracurricular activities, and organised play-dates. However, it is so crucial for the development of your child, to allow them to have free time, where they are able to decide what they choose (within reason), and this gives them crucial life skills such as independence, shows them the importance of trust, while allowing them to develop their own interests. Most nurseries and preschools have ‘free time’ or ‘free-flow‘, as they recognise the importance of allowing the child to choose for themselves. If you are concerned that your child will simply go for an Ipad or computer game, then put out some options for them, perhaps some modelling clay, or a small craft activity somewhere that they can see. They are more likely to choose an activity if it is not thrust upon them. Kids learn a lot when they play by themselves. If they are at a preschool age, or in early years, they will most likely be at a ‘satellite’ stage, where they go from activity to activity. Have a few options available to them, so they have lots to keep them stimulated.
Alongside giving your children free-time, letting them explore and develop their hobbies, however unique, will allow them to build on their sense of identity and creativity. Allowing kids to pursue their passions from a young age, will encourage them to find out what they like, and do not like, by themselves. Often, parents thrust activities that they enjoy or enjoyed as children, with all the best intentions in the world. Still, it is so important to remember that your children may be very different to you, with their own interests and things that they enjoy more than others. Pay attention to your kids interests, and allow them to try new hobbies, even if they eventually lose interest. They are still in the process of development, and it’s important that they feel able to tell you when they are not enjoying something.
Making Special Occasions Educational
Having a party to celebrate your children is wonderful. Special treats and lots of fun are synonymous with a birthday party. And while ball pits and movies are heaps of fun, there are some alternatives that are just as fun, and educational to boot! If you go for a themed party that reflects your child’s interest, perhaps an animal-themed party, or a science party, then why not hire professionals to help out. You can hire people to bring a ‘mini zoo’ to your home, or have children entertainers who can offer you themed parties, with magic shows, or perhaps science experiments for the curious child.
There is no golden rule when it comes to raising children, but allowing them to enjoy their childhood and develop their identity will allow them to grow up into well-rounded humans.