Today’s post is from one of my biggest blog crushes, Christine Mosler. Chris’s blog is packed full of her beautiful photography, stories about her family, and posts about some of the charities she is passionate about. It recently made it onto Woman and Home’s list of the Top 100 Food Blogs. I am over the moon that she found time to write something for me.
I’m so pleased to be guest posting for Ruth today, the DorkyMum blog is one of my ‘Must Read’s and always has me coming back for more. You can normally find me blogging at Thinly Spread, Climbing Rainbows and Life is Delicious. In a former life I was a Key Stage 2 teacher, now I am Mum to four children aged from 6 to 16 and a freelance writer specialising in education, health and nutrition.
I’m a big advocate of the relaxed approach to parenting and, while mine do go to clubs and attend music lessons, I have consciously tried to leave plenty of time in the week for them to be bored. Learning to be bored is an important life lesson as is learning to appreciate the simple things in life; the things which come without a price tag attached but which are themselves priceless. Things like lying on your back watching leaves flutter in an apple tree.
Boredom makes children look around them for entertainment, it might be banging pans, watching raindrops meandering down window panes or doodling. It could be lying on your tummy on a summer’s day, watching a tiny insect make its way through the lawn jungle and wondering what it would be like to be a Borrower so you could get down there too. Or it might be finding out what’s inside a flower bud.
Boredom encourages imagination, curiosity and self reliance all of which are crucial as they grow. Pan bashing gives way to guitar playing, raindrop races are replaced by science experiments, and daydreams become poetry or novels. My bored teenagers wandered off from blackberry picking and were later found chatting in a tree and re-enacting the hand of god from the Sistine Chapel!
In this increasingly technology rich, time poor world children need time and space to think and to process all that surrounds them. The 21st century is a noisy and demanding place with information coming in from all sides and they need to be given permission to stop and smell the flowers, watch the bees or to catch an autumn leaf as it falls. They need time to walk and talk and make up worlds full of dragons, magic and endless possibility.
Switch off screens, limit access without being unreasonable, send them off to entertain themselves, let them take a few risks and test their limits, let them grow.
If you surround children with books, music, words, people and places without it being ‘organised’ and ‘planned’ to precision, if you allow them to choose or not to choose, if you allow them just ‘to be’ and to think and to wonder and to be content you will have given them the greatest gift – self.