It’s the last day of summer vacation for Fargo kids. Since I work from home I’ve had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with my teen and his friends over the summer months. They are at that age where they’re constantly moving with high energy. Even so, it’s rare to see them not engaged with some sort of electronic device. And I, like many parents, try to remember to suggest a break from all things plugged in or charged from time to time. It happens, but not often enough.
How can they ever relax? True, my son could pop in his ear buds, close his eyes, and listen to soothing music. Yeah, right. OK, so maybe it is an uphill journey to get a teen to relax. However, it’s a journey that parents should encourage children to take.
Most of us who have teens grew up during a time when we had to figure out what to do when it came to play. There were stretches of silence and boredom and solitude. Whether we liked it or not, this was a kind of forced relaxation. Not so with our kids.
Fast forward and as adults we are reminded of the importance of relaxation because of the health and emotional benefit this time of renewal brings. Think of how much harder it will be for our young adult children to relax when they’ve rarely done so throughout their lives.
In her book Simplify Your Life, Elaine St. James encourages us to “Teach Your Kids the Joy of Solitude.”
…teach them how to spend a quiet afternoon at home. Set up a regular time in their week where they can be away from the unremitting influence of their peers, as well as away from the pandemonium of the electronic age. Fortify them with good books (but no TV) and thoughtful meditative exercises they can do, so they get in the habit of personal reflection, and of seeing answers within their own heart.
Once your children learn the joy of solitude, it’ll be a gift they can carry with them throughout their lives.
A gift. No, my kiddo won’t feel like it’s a gift when I suggest he does nothing for a while. My hope is that one day when he’s an adult and needs to break free from the stress of his days, perhaps then he’ll look back and thank his mom for allowing him to be alone with his thoughts and reflections. Until then, I’ll continue to encourage him to relax on his journey.