Why Children Need Rest
As we approach the new school term there is something I see happening amongst parents and professionals and that is we’re building up to this sense of getting ready to go out and do things full-steam, hard-hitting with as many different activities as we possibly can, squeezing all them into one academic week.
Let me give you an example, I received a letter from the bank saying that I’ve got some financial paperwork that I need to get done. Let’s imagine that it is a little light reading and maybe some English textbooks that I want to commit to doing on a Wednesday evening, I’ve then some language learning and notes to read over at the moment. I have got art lessons which I need to attend but I’ve also got my to-do list of things that I need to do when I get back in the office. I also have some invitations for some parties coming up and I also want to start going to the gym and being healthy.
You will notice that it’s starting to look a little bit chaotic and a little bit messy, but why is that important. It is important because what we end up doing to the brains of the children and young people that we care about, we’re so keen to give them access to a variety of different learning experiences and opportunities that sometimes it just gets a little bit too much and it can get overwhelming. What we need to remember is that these young people are learning every single day they are learning on the days when we don’t send them to school because their brains are figuring out the world, figuring out Society communication, interpersonal relationships, all sorts of different aspects of their brains are developing every single day and as well as giving them access to these great opportunities that are available to them, we also have to remember to give them space to process it all because otherwise it starts to stack up and get a little bit chaotic and a bit too messy in their minds.
In order for me to not feel completely overwhelmed by all of those different things, that I just put in front of myself, I need to start figuring out where things need to go and I’m going to need time to do that, I’m going to need a free evening to be able to process that stuff and put it away.
Very often for children and young people they’ll do that processing and putting away of information whilst they are playing or doing other things such as playing outside in nature or interacting with their friends and it’s really important that we give them the time and space to be able to use their brain in that way so that as well as stacking it up with good stuff they also get the time to be able to then file it in the right compartments.
If this time isn’t being made available to them, what we can see happening is, on a low level, things like tiredness and disengagement or on a more severe level they may even start to exhibit signs of anger frustration, they may become disengaged with things that you know they really love and enjoy and get a lot of benefit from because actually they’re just feeling overwhelmed and it’s all a little bit too much.
This is vital in the current times with Covid19 measures all around them. A lot to cope with in addition to their day to day learning
Yes if you can afford to give your children access to so many different experiences that they’re going to have a rich learning time throughout their lives and lots of enjoyable learning then that is fantastic but remember too that sometimes they just want to watch the TV, snuggled up on the sofa or do a little bit of light colouring. Escape from the real world for a short time.
Sometimes we need to give them that little bit of headspace so that they’re able to process and take the learning from all of the opportunities that we are providing for them not just in the day to day activities that we provide but actually just from being in life itself and everything that they’re observing and absorbing from it on their daily basis.
By Gemma Bailey