Advertising
Advertising

How to Create Downtime for Kids

How to Create Downtime for Kids
    Photo credit: httsan (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    So many kids these days are scheduled for every minute. Even in summer, on weekends and school holidays you would think they get a break, but kids are shuttled from camp to practices to games to holiday weekends, all without time to breathe or play.

    As an adult, that sort of schedule would leave me stressed out, cranky and frantic. When I find myself over-scheduled, I seek downtime. How could it be any different with kids?

    Downtime isn’t something that just happens, though. Here are four ways to create downtime for children.

    Advertising

    Cutting Back On Activities

    We all want the best for our kids. This can mean lessons, tutoring, camps and sports practices. But day after day of constant activity makes for a too-full schedule. The first way to create space for down time is to cut back on activities.

    Set a limit on what the child can do. If given a choice of two activities, ask your child what they would prefer. My daughter picked piano and Girl Scouts, and consciously turned down tennis camp and strings because they would cut into her few free evenings.

    Making sure there is plenty of unscheduled time gives children the opportunity to use their imaginations, relax, and learn about the world around them – three very necessary things.

    Advertising

    It may even turn into opportunities. The family next door had a “one sport, one other activity” rule for the school year. Their daughter went out for the boy’s football team — and made it! She spent three years as a field goal kicker and getting to learn about sports in a way that most women never get to.

    Creating Space In Every Day

    A single day off after months of overwork doesn’t compensate for the lack of rest in adults. The same applies for kids. Creating regular and frequent time for the children to settle down and unwind is essential to keep them in balance.

    Space doesn’t mean filling time with mind-numbing activities; it means giving the child a time and place to unwind.

    Advertising

    We have a “no-tv-on-school-days” rule to eliminate the noise; during the summer we limit all electronics to one hour per day. This gives my daughter time to play outside without the siren of television beckoning her.

    Sometimes this can even mean setting aside a physical place for relaxing. My daughter chose to make a reading corner in her bedroom (modeled after my own reading area), so that she has a quiet place to go to when she wants to read.

    Encouraging Quiet Activities

    Downtime doesn’t necessarily mean quiet volume, but for children, quiet time is essential to get them ready for sleep. Have you ever tried to put a toddler to bed who is overstimulated?

    Advertising

    Quiet activities, such as drawing, reading and crafts, can allow the child to ramp back energy levels and focus on something that is relaxing.

    It is easy to have materials on hand for these activities. A trip to the library every other week, a quick run through the dollar store for paper and drawing supplies, or shopping the after-holiday sales at a craft store for craft kits are good ways to ensure you have quiet activity items on hand.

    Modeling Behavior

    The last point, and probably the most important, is that children pick up things from the adults around them. If they see that you are over-scheduled, hyper and always on the go, they will feel this is a good way to be.

    Taking time to relax ourselves, making sure our own schedules are under control, and having quiet times show children that this is desirable. They will emulate the behavior that they observe.

    Giving kids time to be kids, with unstructured time and quiet activities, can help children be in tune with their natural rhythms. Do you have ideas on how to create downtime for kids, or the importance of it? Share below.

    More by this author

    6 Habits of Successful Working Parents 13 Ideas of Really Cheap Meals for Broke People How to Create Downtime for Kids How to Make Garden Watering Easier Unexpected Ways The Library Can Save You Money

    Trending in Lifestyle

    130 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier 253 Fun Things You Can Do This Weekend 36 Ways Journaling Will Change Your Life 4How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Tips From The Most Successful People 5Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on August 21, 2018

    30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

    30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

    Ah, camping. The great outdoors, the campfires, the food you’d never eat in civilised society: it’s a wonderful experience.

    That said, things can get a little bit tricky when we are left to the mercy of Mother Nature. Here are 30 fantastic camping hacks you can use to make your camping experience as wonderful as possible!

     1. Use sage to repel mosquitoes.

    1dca4068e7ecfe1473e91457f8b87402
      photoshelter.com

      Place some sage in your campfire and the smell is sure to ward off any pesky mosquitos.

      2. Liquid soap + cotton balls = no ticks.

      7575e1c4546c5967d33eea08caa13422
        crateandbarrel.com

        If you or one of your fellow campers is having trouble with a tick, place the soap-soaked cotton on the tick for 20 seconds. The tick will eventually stop chewing and will come away with the cotton ball. If the tick was attached for a lengthy amount of time you may want to consider keeping it in a container so that you can test it for Lyme disease later.

        3. Use an acorn cap as a whistle if you get lost.

        86080da1468d1e75640e5f95b39ff558
          smallhomebigstart.com

          It’s remarkably easy to get lost whilst camping. Here’s a full tutorial on how you can transform an acorn into a whistle!

          4. Corn chips for kindling!

          ac73d007cd4eb6990b38fa305b29063b

            Doritos are a great way to start a fire, just be careful!

            Advertising

            5. Use the rest of the chips for nachos.

            c87cd05491ff02c45488dd428379dcb2
              buzzfeed.com

              Nachos are easy to pack, light and simple to make. Plus they’re incredibly tasty.

              6. Use compact, microfibre towels!

              Compact-Towels
                rei.com

                These towels are incredibly easy to store and dry within an hour of use. Buy them here.

                7. Wrap duct-tape around your water bottle for emergencies.

                enhanced-buzz-923-1396984158-34
                  briangreen.net

                  You never know when you might need some.

                  8. Make lamps out of jars and solar disks.

                  enhanced-2748-1397072232-15
                    campwander.com

                    Get all the info you need here.

                    9. Sangria!

                    enhanced-3469-1397075421-1
                      gastfamilyrecipes.blogspot.co.uk

                      We know what’s really important. How to here!

                      10. One water bottle will hold eight eggs.

                      enhanced-11183-1397055503-14
                        cookiecrumbsandsawdust.blogspot

                        By keeping all your eggs in a bottle you save time and hassle. Plus, no need to carry extra bowls or a whisk!

                        Advertising

                        11. Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil is a surprisingly good mosquito repellent.

                        enhanced-12773-1397067916-17
                          buzzfeed.com

                          Keep the bugs and the bug repellent smell at bay.

                          12. DIY shower.

                          enhanced-16017-1397075328-5
                            instructables.com

                            All you need is a watering can and a large jug. Here’s the full instructions.

                            13. Keep sandpaper handy to light matches.

                            enhanced-32158-1397313702-1
                              craftaholicsanonymous.net

                              Glueing some sandpaper to the lid of a tupperware box where you can also store matches is a foolproof plan.

                              14. Make s’moreos easily.

                              enhanced-buzz-6363-1396981075-4
                                snackhacks.org

                                15. MarshJell-o shots.

                                enhanced-buzz-6378-1396984362-18
                                  tablespoon.com

                                  Learn how to make these delicious things here!

                                  16. Or dip those marshmallows in Bailey’s. 
                                  enhanced-buzz-10975-1396982782-16

                                    Toast the marshmallow first and then dip it in Bailey’s.

                                    17. Turn a bottle into a spoon.

                                    enhanced-buzz-15463-1396984478-32
                                      buzzfeed.com

                                      It’s that easy!

                                      Advertising

                                      18. Grits repel ants.

                                      1b3c626ef359f2d19775831415b1d129
                                        sleepychef.com

                                        Just sprinkle grits wherever you see ants.

                                        19. Deodorant can be used to combat itchiness.

                                        enhanced-buzz-16165-1396981994-13
                                          wikihow.com

                                          20. Wrap your meat in cabbage to stop it from burning.

                                          enhanced-buzz-17457-1397055776-13
                                            onesweetappetite.com

                                            That’s not an innuendo, it really will! The moistness in the cabbage creates the perfect barrier.

                                            21. Foam noodles will stop any injuries.

                                            enhanced-buzz-17677-1396993405-8
                                              andybaird.com

                                              For any fellow clumsy people, you know how possible it is to smack your head and cause serious injury. Placing a foam noodle on the awning strut narrows down at least one accident waiting to happen.

                                              22. Carry some essentials in a small tin with you at all times.

                                              enhanced-buzz-20957-1397057774-5
                                                fieldandstream.com

                                                You never know what you’ll need and when.

                                                23. Take toothpaste dots instead of a whole tube.

                                                enhanced-buzz-25254-1396991209-17
                                                  ruggedthuglife.com

                                                  Let the drops dry out over 3 days, add a little baking soda and put them in a resealable bag.

                                                  24. Use a stick to secure your tent.

                                                  enhanced-buzz-27474-1396992113-18
                                                    survivormedic.com

                                                    By placing a stick in the main centre line you ensure the pressure is even throughout, which will stop the grommets being pulled out.

                                                    Advertising

                                                    25. Vacuum seal your food before you leave.

                                                    enhanced-buzz-27474-1396992379-28
                                                      livingonalatte.com

                                                      26. Popcorn on the campfire.

                                                      Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 13.42.59.png
                                                        kookyculinary.com

                                                        Popcorn that you can place on the stove at home can also be popped over a campfire. You can also make your own using this tutorial.

                                                        27. You can even make bacon and eggs over it.

                                                        Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 13.43.14.png
                                                          realfamilycamping.blogspot.co.uk

                                                          That’s right! Full instructions here.

                                                          28. Keep your toiletries handy.

                                                          shower-caddy
                                                            myshowerline.com

                                                            Buy this magnificent contraption here.

                                                            29. Compact, unbreakable cups!

                                                            silicone-cups
                                                              reuseit.com

                                                              Get them while you can!

                                                              30. Tic-Tac boxes are great for storing ingredients.

                                                              spices-tic-tac
                                                                seattlesundries.com

                                                                With these 30 camping tips and tricks, you can work DIY magic into nearly every aspect of camping, and make your next camping trip a comfortable, easy blast. Good luck!

                                                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                                                Read Next