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Childlife.ca e-news#13: Childhood Needs Simplicity, not Complexity

by Mary Stuart, E.C.E.D.H., RECE

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once. — Polish proverb

What happened to having a Happy Day and having FUN?

Recently at the Citywide Training, I was assisting Early Childhood Professionals in setting some professional goals for themselves. I was so delighted and inspired to hear them.

One in particular struck me as so important and necessary:

“The only goal I have is to have more fun in the classroom!” Right on!

We all need to be around excited, happy, passionate people. Our children are yearning for it, they are asking: “Where is the fun in life and learning?”

Again, during a Childlife Strategies phone consultation, a mom commented that she was going to take more time to just relax and play with her children more. Fantastic!

We have become so “complex” in our society especially with work and technology.

It’s funny, just a few years ago, (ok decades), there was a theory that said with more technology to assist us in our daily tasks, we would have more leisure time. I don’t know about you, but that does not seem to be the trend.

Further, the anxiety, stress, and depression levels of all ages are on the rise.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association:

  • 1 in 5 people have or will have mental illness
  • World Health Organization (WHO) says mental illness is the number one leading cause of disability and
  • 5 of the 10 leading causes of disability are related to mental illness

Complexity is beginning to rule our lives, and we are seeing more and more children suffer!

“Are we having any fun yet” is truly a philosophical question for today and only you can answer it and do something about it.

Here are 3 Ways to Simplify life and Have more Fun:

  1. Prioritize!
    • Family time is Important & Fun is Essential.
    • Put these at the top of the home and school priority list: The only things that get done are the things that have top priority.
  2. Make time for Connecting
    • Whether it is in the classroom and at home; Spending just five minutes a day connecting with a child — looking into the eyes of a child, giving them your full uninterrupted attention is worth more than anything else in the whole world! Imagine one hour of uninterrupted time with each of your children a day/a week! You will never regret tuning into your child and enjoying their wonderful sense of discovery. Make the time!
  3. Schedule Fun!
    • In the classroom, plan for open-ended fun activities. Years ago when I worked front-line, Fridays were always a fun day. It drove one colleague nuts, but it was worth it! We had dance parties after nap time; we had fun Friday dress up days; Backward day – dress backwards, start the end of the day at the beginning, try dessert before the main course!
    • Bring your favourite teddy bear to school. The fun ideas are endless.
    • At Home – let it become a no work/cellphone zone. Try Family Fridays – make it a “sacred” ritual – no excuses, no interruptions and for the most part, you have control over that.
    • Pjs, pizza, games, and sleeping on the floor together with the dog and cat and bird.are priceless memories that last forever!

Things we really care about take time and commitment.

When we stop the complexity of life and actually choose to have fun then life takes on a different form.

We have to work at it, make sacrifices and pay the price.

In my way of thinking, saying “YES!” to simplicity and having more fun in our life with children is worth the effort.

Imagine the possibilities.. I would love to hear from you about how you are having more fun and then share the ideas. Drop me a line anytime; justask@childlife.ca

Have Fun having a Happy Summer!

Mary