Does your child 'chill out' a lot? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-22-2012, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Ds1 will be 8 next month. He spends a fair amount of time just not doing anything in particular. A little while ago he was relaxing in the rocking chair looking outside just kind of daydreaming (I asked him later what he was thinking about and he said Mario Brothers!) for about 20 minutes. Now he's sitting of the sofa making weird random noises. We are chatting a bit off and on, but mostly he's just chilling out, doing nothing in particular. Oh, he just went to get a book he's read a zillion times to ask me if kids' names out of it are real names.


Anyhow, he does this a lot. He doesn't play a lot on his own. Sometimes he'll get really into a project and will be quite engaged in that, but there's a lot of downtime in his life. He does go through phases where he's doing more, but this last phase has been loooooooong - partly because of the big change in our life this last year (a baby) means that we aren't on the go as much as before.


On one hand I feel like downtime is good. Time to relax, to process stuff going on in your life, figure things out, reflect, daydream. All good.


On the other, I see him lazing around and something in side of me wants to scream "GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE AND MEANINGFUL!".


Thankfully I don't actually scream this at him, but we have had some conversations about the value of meaningful work, following your passions, asking him if he is happy, etc. He's not an easy kid to get to talk though.


So I'm wondering, do other kids do this? How do you know how much is too much? Can there be too much? Are other kids all engaged and inspired by life all the time, jumping from one project or activity to the next, smiling and loving every minute?!


Help! I'm having a panic attack!!! :)

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#2 of 13 Old 01-22-2012, 02:56 PM
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I think it would be rather nice if ds just sat and thought or daydreamed...  He has always had a high need for interaction so if he isn't doing something with a person, he does something with the computer.  If he can't find something interesting on the computer, he tells me he is bored.  Sometimes he does get engrossed in building with legos or something, but he is always coming and talking to me, never just sitting being pensive.  Unless he has a fever (which I kinda enjoy).  Maybe it is just the difference between an extrovert (my ds!) and an introvert.

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#3 of 13 Old 01-22-2012, 09:01 PM
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Mine almost never just chills -- he is always either on the computer or watching TV, or both at the same time, even if he is with a friend. I think that time for contemplation is a good thing. Is he an introvert?

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#4 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 11:16 AM
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My eight-year-old son "chills" periodically throughout the day, though he also enjoys reading and lots of play with his siblings.  He's always done this some, but it seems to be increasing the past year or so.  He has a lot on his mind, I think--we've had some really deep conversations about religion and atheism, and the U.S. political process, and how one decides what one wants to do/be/accomplish as an adult.  I'm really glad he's home and can get this down time when he needs it. I'm wired a lot like that, too.

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#5 of 13 Old 04-11-2012, 01:39 PM
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Yes! My son chills out a lot throughout the day. I think he's processing things, considering things. My younger one doesn't have this same need for downtime, but I know I need it constantly to stay emotionally and mentally happy and creative. Maybe your son is an introvert and gains his strength from solo contemplation? I was reading a parenting book from the 1970's called, Your Seven Year Old--Life in a Minor Key, and it really does seem to fit my son. He spends a lot of time staring out the window thinking with a serious way about him. I enjoy what he comes with, the questions he has, his thoughts on things. 

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#6 of 13 Old 04-14-2012, 06:17 PM
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my daughter has days where she'll just be lazy the entire day and then she'll have days where she is constantly involved in her own activity.


I'm very similar to that, so she probably gets that from me.

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#7 of 13 Old 04-24-2012, 11:35 PM
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such a great conversation! I am worried about my ds too, except that I do many times suggest PLEASE get up and do SOMETHING! innocent.gif..dh is very irritated when he sees ds just lying on his back...I dont know, ds loves to draw, so I wonder why in those times he just gets up and draws. but deep inside I think me and dh are that way too. we are just too ashamed to accept that. shy.gif

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#8 of 13 Old 04-25-2012, 07:29 AM
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Wow! I did a little Googling on this subject ("children who are dreamers") and one mother's blog pointed me to this book called The Edison Trait:


I am *SO* getting this book!

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#9 of 13 Old 05-04-2012, 07:05 AM
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Thanks for the book recommendation, I just requested it from our library.   Mine spends a lot of time thinking / contemplating /making up stories.  If you talk to her while she is doing an of those things, she will say, "I am busy" very likely in an urgent tone, as if she is in the midst of an intricate web of thought.


Just wanted to pipe into answer this question:

Are other kids all engaged and inspired by life all the time, jumping from one project or activity to the next, smiling and loving every minute?!

Yes, just visit the world of homeschool blogs and you will find many of them!


just kidding ... HS blogs have given me lots of ideas, inspiration, as well as confidence.  And maybe a welcome push when there are things we could do but aren't.

I just have to accept the fact that I am hopeless at keeping one.

relaxed-unschooler mama to dd (2003). hoping for second one. love being a mama!!
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#10 of 13 Old 05-04-2012, 09:35 AM
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I read The Edison Trait and found it really helpful.  A few things didn't ring true for me, but many did.  Glad to hear others discussing the book.

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#11 of 13 Old 05-23-2012, 07:34 PM
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My 10 DfD has spots of that through the day. She's boom or bust, very little in between. Certain times of the day it's go-go-go, but right after lunch for a few hours, she does "nothing" a lot if her best friend isn't over. Even then, sometimes they just "do nothing" together. She naps, semi-watches TV (she's not a big TV kid, she kind of zones out as soon as it comes on), or her favorite lately, finds a quiet spot in the house and stares out the window or thumbs through books/magazines.


I think it's good for them. I remember doing a lot of that as a kid and it was never "nothing." It was time to gather my thoughts, imagine, dream, think through things, or just recharge my batteries. I was more of an extrovert than DfD is and I still needed that solitary time. I can only imagine how much a truly introverted person needs.


We're a pretty active family, but I think the idea that kids always have to be engaged in something is a product of the greater 'hyper-parenting' trend, not something that's always been a part of childhood. Until recently, it seems that MOST of childrens' lives, even those who went to school, consisted of a lot of dorking around. Obviously not so for the last 2 decades or so, but the idle childhood has been more the norm prior to that.


Recalling a comedy piece from George Carlin, wherein he complains about children. Or more accurately, the parents of children who pack their kids' lives with supervised, directed activities and don't let them daydream or goof off. The suggestion from Mr. Conductor is that children should have three hours of mandatory daydreaming every day, where there is no direction, no supervision, no structure. Just time to sit around, think, play with ideas and stare at the clouds. Obviously he came at it from a humor standpoint, but it's advice I've taken to heart and I'm glad my own parents had the same ideas too.

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#12 of 13 Old 05-30-2012, 08:08 PM
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my 6 year old dd does this a lot. She recently asked me to not turn on the radio in the car because that is when she does her best "wondering". she told me she wants to find the perfect spot in the house to do her "wondering" during the day. we spend a lot of time out of the house, but when we are home they are on their own to do their own thing. I think its so important for kids to be able to spend time "wondering". She also still engages in a lot of pretend play with her sister (3) so I think she is just one of those imaginative kids.

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#13 of 13 Old 07-15-2012, 02:54 PM
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Oh man, yes. So my unschoolers are grown up (oldest is actually 21 TODAY! How did that happen?), but for me/us unschooling is a way of life forever. My son in particular was a master "chiller outer". He'd wake up late (whatever that means), lay on the sofa, maybe read, use the pc a bit, play a video game or watch a movie sorta kinda. In retrospect, I feel like this was particularly concentrated around the ages of lke 10-12 give or take. I understand the panic. BUT! The secret is that so much is going on there inside. Thoughts and connections and inspirations we can't physically see. I love that he was asking if they were real names in the book he likes. That means that he must have had his curiosity sparked somehow and the connection was made. Hang in there mom!

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