Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Importance of Letting Kids Play by Themselves

A few weeks ago I put my 3 older kids in Day Camp for a week. Camp was from 9-4 filled with fabulous trips and activities and my kids had a ball.

The thing that bothered me though, was the fact that everyday when they came home they were like 3 little zombies. They were absolutely exhausted from going going going ALL day that all they wanted to do was watch a video, eat dinner and go to sleep.

I am known on my personal Facebook page for all the hilarious and smart things my kids say on a daily basis. I post these things to share with my friends and people are constantly telling me I need to write a book with all these fun sayings.

That week in day camp though, I don't recall any funny or cool things my kids said to me. Honestly, I don't even recall having too many real conversations with them. They just came home and needed to zone out for a while from 7 full hours of mental and physical stimulation.

I see all these "Mommy Camps" circulating the web of things to do with your kids this summer which is great, but we cant forget to give them the gift of free time. Time to play by themselves. Time to think. Time to Imagine. Time to use those amazing little brains of theirs.

Often, our kids don't necessarily need us to play with them, they merely need our presence to be there. They need that security. So what I have done, and it works like a charm, is put a really comfy beach chair outside in our outdoor play area and a really comfy recliner in our playroom.

I often go sit down when I need a break and the kids often follow. I have no iphone, ipad, ipod or laptop with me, just mom with a cup of tea or coffee. My kids see that I am fully there and hence don't feel the need to get my attention and so they play. And play, and play. Sometimes for up to 2 hours. They play together, or alone. I'm there to break up any fights if they come along or to assist when assistance is needed. But that's it.

I encourage moms everywhere to do this. Even if your kids sit on the floor and do the same puzzle 5 times in a row. Or sit on the grass and look for bugs. Let them figure out how to entertain themselves. They will do it and it is so great for them and for you. They come up with questions, and ideas and observe things that you probably have never seen.

It's not about filling up their brains and time with things. It's about giving them the ability to learn from everything around them.

Wishing you a wonderful week,
P.S. I have TWO fabulous Giveaways coming up this week- stay tuned!


  1. I completely echo your sentiments and thank you for posting this! Well well said!
    When I took my daughter out of a public school and started to homeschool her, she went through almost a 'withdrawl' process of a good few weeks, not having this constant stimulation and expectation of having the brain switched on to academics all the time.

  2. It's also easier to give kids time alone if they have no T.V in their home

  3. Yes! Time for free play, for daydreaming, for watching clouds. Couldn't agree more. Sharing on FB.

  4. I could not possibly agree more with you!! Independent play is when the best things happen, and it is always far more fascinating to see what they will find to amuse themselves.

  5. Hi, wow I just stumbled upon your blog through Free Range Learning and I absolutely loved this post. It's almost unheard of these days (a mother gladly and willingly allowing her children hours of what may seem like "pointless" play on the outside but is in fact so beneficial for them) We live such busy lives and we expect our kids to do the same. We put so much effort in distracting them, "entertaining" them, etc. and for what? Are we afraid that if we don't fill their time with anything and everything under the sun that they won't love us? That they'll be bored with life? It's amazing how it's totally the opposite in reality! I let my baby play as much as she likes in the backyard, in the dirt, in the sun. She absolutely loves it. Doesn't need me for anything, as long as she feels I'm nearby. It's the best thing. Takes away all the stress of being a mum for a bit and you can just sit back and relax. Anyways, thanks again for this lovely post and I'll be sure to check out the rest :)


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