Happy New Year! This holiday makes me think of resolutions, intentions and how we estimate what we can do with these two things. I think we tend to over-estimate or under-estimate what we can realistically accomplish. Here are a few examples:
Money: We usually over-estimate how much we will earn and under-estimate what we will spend. This leaves us with far less savings that we originally intended.
Weight: We usually over-estimate how much weight we plan to lose. When buying clothes, how many people buy pants that are a bit snug with the idea that it will provide motivation to shed a few pounds? I bet more people err on the smaller size rather than the larger!
Time and Family: We tend to over-estimate how many activities and opportunities we can commit to. Many families fill their schedules full to bursting with school, church, work and the like. Children participate in music, dance, sports and other enriching activities.
All of these things are worth activities, but when something unexpected comes up it usually cuts into unstructured family time. I think as a society we under-estimate the value of just being together as a family without chores, tasks, planned activities or agendas. There is value in just being together whether it’s hanging around in the backyard or even just watching TV as a family! There’s value in just relaxing, kicking back and goofing off together and yet we often feel guilty like we have to be producing something or working on a skill each and every minute.
And, there’s more to just being together than that. Unstructured together time is important to helping our child unwind from whatever pressures they may be facing. For older children, this is an important part of helping them learn to self-regulate their emotions–to find a level, center place. It’s attachment building and good for our own ability to self-regulate our emotions!
This new year, think about your time. How are you spending it? When something unexpected occurs, what gets eliminated? How much unstructured time is in your life? Are you teaching your children the value of just “being” as well as the value of learning, creating or doing?
On a final note, check out what Deborah at Brain Insights has to say about unstructured time.