When I am … traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that ideas flow best and most abundantly.”
~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
It’s mid-August and it’s been a tough slog trying to entertain the kids all summer. There may have been camps and classes scheduled earlier in the season as you tried to prevent the dreaded “brain drain” that experts warn begins as soon as the last day of school ends. But as summer camps wind down and formal activities end, boredom may set in along with the familiar whine of, “There’s nothing to do!”
Well, relax because I am giving you and the kids permission to revel in doing nothing. Mozart and I are big proponents of doing nothing. Mozart intuitively knew what research shows – that downtime boosts creativity and relieves burnout.
While doing “nothing” is a relative term and may mean different things to different families, it’s important to recognize that relaxing gives us the break we need so that we can return to our busy lives refreshed. One family may define “nothing” as an afternoon of reading; another family may want to lie in the grass as they watch the clouds drift by; and yet another family may want to play video games together. The key is to keep a positive attitude about it and to reframe “nothing” as something necessary for brain cells to regenerate. You really are helping your kids’ brains by taking a breather.
And for those of you who find it hard to let up on activities, remember that September, with its homework, strict schedules and school frenzy, will be here before you know it. Try to enjoy doing “nothing” the rest of the summer!
By Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator