This Is Why Daydreaming Is Actually Super-Beneficial To Your Kids
My little girl is a total daydreamer.
Meaning that often, when I try to get her attention, be it because dinner is ready or the rest of us are standing in the hallway with our shoes on, ready to leave, she is completely and utterly lost in her thoughts.
There are times, I am not going to lie, that this "away with the fairies" thing can be rather head-wrecking, especially is we are in a hurry or when I am trying to get her to snap her attention back to the math homework we are currently trying to get done.
But on the other hand, I also love that she clearly enjoys her own company and her own thoughts, and remember reading somewhere that daydreaming can, in fact, also lead to all sorts of creativity.
This is the argument of Amy Fries, author of Daydreams At Work: Wake Up Your Creative Powers, who argues that often, parents and teachers are too quick to think of daydreaming as a sign of being unfocused or, even sometimes, a warning of something of an attention deficit disorder.
While, in fact, Fries points out, "there is substantial research connecting daydreaming in children with creativity, healthy social adjustment and good performance at school.”
According to the book, several studies suggest that daydreaming is healthy because it keeps the mind clicking over even when it strays away from things it is meant to be doing – such as listening to a teacher. It seems the brain doesn’t switch off but taps into another neural network which reviews what it’s seen and experienced or thinks about what might happen in the future.
And the benefits don't end there. Other studies have shown that daydreaming can help kids with their social skills and ability to empathise with others. “Researchers have found that children who can spin an imaginative story around a game they’re involved in are more likely to play happily and for extended periods than those who can’t seem to engage in extended imaginary play,” says Fries.
US psychologist Lucy Jo Palladino, author of Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos, agrees, and argues that daydreaming shouldn't be discouraged, but rather managed and allowed time for. “Frame your child’s daydreaming in positive ways,” Palladino says. “At the same time, keep your child accountable. Maintain a consistent time and place for studying and help structure your child’s study time with breaks and incentives."
Other experts agree that it is important for children to have the capacity to enter into their own internal world. It is a place where they are in control, and where they can review and imagine.
But it is worth being aware that if you think your child is spending too much time in his own head, excessive daydreaming can be a sign of other problems, and this checking out from reality is used as a defense mechanism.
"It could be a sign that a child is not coping or is overwhelmed by their surroundings,” Fries explains. "So trust your instincts and do listen to your children's teachers on how they see the daydreaming."
Are YOU raising a little daydreamer, parents? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie