We structure our children’s days to foster growth, health, fun and happiness, so what goes wrong when we grow up and become all serious and stuff? The day of a child is filled with learning, playing, space, fun and lots of time to explore the world. It’s meticulously planned to cater for the child’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth.
Then something changes when we get older. Our boundless desire for money, things, careers and achievements places mental growth above all, and our days increasingly lack time and space for playing, eating, relating, exploring and thinking.
WE GOT IT PERFECT FOR OUR CHILDREN, SO WHY DID WE GO AND MESS THINGS UP?
1. Regular break times
Children have regular break out sessions, time to blow off steam and run around like a crazy kid. We tend to push on through, working as long and as hard as our body and mind can take it.
2. Long leisurely lunchtimes
Children have at least an hour for lunch. They all break away from their learning environment and eat lunch together, chatting, relating and making sense of their day. We often grab a sandwich and eat at our desks, stare at Facebook, read depressing news or carry on working.
3. Going outside to play
Children are pretty much thrown out of their indoor spaces, told to go and run around the playground, get active and have loads of fun with their friends. Hear the cries of ‘stop staring at the screen, go outside and play’. Maybe we should heed our own advice?
4. Finishing early
Children’s school days generally finish around 3pm. It gives them plenty of time to play before it gets dark, to see their friends, make up their own games and to explore the world. We increasingly work until we drop, not getting home until the children are already tucked up in bed, with no energy to do anything but collapse.
5. Eating early
Children are encouraged to eat their dinner early, as they need enough time for their bodies to digest it before bedtime. It also gives them enough time to play after. Whereas we often eat late as a direct result of working late.
6. Going to bed early
Last but not least, we encourage our children to go to bed early ‘as you need lots of sleep ready for school tomorrow’. Then we proceed to stay awake finishing off more work, having late dinner, tidying up or watching an extra episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix.
When you hit on a system that works, don’t go and change it. It’s no wonder children are already enlightened and free with days like these. The world is beginning to redefine what work is and what it means to us, so with some intentional living we can all live a bit more like our children.