One of the most difficult months of the teaching year is May. Young kids can’t sit still. Older kids know how to count the days and daydream. High schoolers are more interested in their proms than their papers. And college students are asking themselves why they didn’t start to finish sooner.
There is so much “doing” in May there seems to be little time to think. What if thinking could result in less doing? Thinking takes time and with little time, there is little thinking. As you plan for the summer, have you planned for your kids to have some time to think? That is likely the best use of their time.
Parents today have a unique challenge that is still going unrecognized. Educators are struggling to help children want to learn and remember information they can simply google on their phones. If we aren’t careful, we will raise children to do, instead of to think. Do our children determine their answers from the internet or do their thoughts determine what they think about the internet? Thinking takes time. Are your kids taking time to think?
So, if thinking is a time priority, how to we encourage kids to spend time thinking?
- Develop a technology schedule and create time to power down the electronics and power up their brains. Pretend there is no electricity or battery power from the hours of ten to twelve or two to four. What will your children find to do? (After they complain and whine for a few minutes.)
- Shop for some options. Trivia games or board games to play together! Books to read, magazines to look at, puzzles to complete and exercise equipment to use. (By the way, garage sales will be a great and inexpensive source of the above.) In fact, garage sales might be a good way to spend some of the above time.
- Create some “income hours” and give them the chance to think about how to use that time. Is there cooking, cleaning, painting, gardening or other chores that your kids can do to earn that garage sale money? If you don’t want to pay your kids for household chores, is there a neighbor who needs that help? Let’s face it, when a kid is dusting, vacuuming or mowing a yard, he or she will spend that time thinking as well. (Which means no electronics in their ears while they are working!)
- Eat lunch together and talk . . . but think of things to talk about that require thinking. Ask you kids their opinions and then listen to them. (When you want to speak, correct or direct . . . think twice and err on the side of listening.)
If thinking takes time, how much time will your children spend thinking? Do you need to plan for that time this summer? We live is a world of “doing” and good parenting is often measured by the number of minutes spent running children around. What if the best thing your kids do this summer is learn to enjoy thinking? How will that lesson change their lives? As parents, that is something to think about.