In today's Your Child Explained episode – where we always take a subject and look at it from within the mind of our kids – we figure out how to incorporate time for daydreaming into our kids' daily life.
If you remember, in episode 30 I spoke with dad and business owner Steve Mirando (give it a listen if you haven't yet, it's a great interview with lots of ideas for balancing work and life), and Steve told a really compelling story about his youngest attempting to "stop the wind." This four-year-old's idea for stopping the wind involved stopping a shrub from moving in the wind, and Steve recognized that moment as a really significant one… Because they're so curious and creative, children just naturally bring a lot of wonder into our lives.
Today, I extend on this idea of daydreaming and big ideas and wonder – and how easily we can trample those things without even meaning to in the daily rush.
Did you know that Einstein came up with the theory of relativity by daydreaming? He imagined sitting on a beam of light as it moves through space, and asked the question, what would that be like? Often, people feel their most creative when they're given the space and time to daydream. Adults really need that time – but kids need it even more, or at least more of it. The question is, how do we find the time for it in our daily lives?
Three things are necessary to create an environment that fosters big ideas and wonder:
1) an absence of screens
2) material for kids to keep their hands busy – a tray of sand (on a table covered with newspaper), some warm water and soap in the sink, play dough, or just some open-ended outside time
3) our willingness to engage in a conversation that is mostly us listening and observing our kids
What we're doing here is noticing our kids questions and thoughts… Even if they can't be lengthy, even if it's just for a little while a few times a week, something special happens in these moments. They help us know and appreciate our kids more, and helps them know themselves better in the long run. As they get into school, grow up and experience the pressures of daily life, knowing what gets them excited about learning is the key to happiness.
So really, fostering the sense of wonder when they're young translates to engaged, creative adults later on – and that's really what we want for them, isn't it?