Amaya was only four years old. She had been at her child-sized table fiercely engrossed in a game of her own. There were a bunch of coloured pencils in each of her little hands. I listened closely and found her to be the most amazing storyteller. The pencils in her hand were her characters. She made them talk to each other while she effortlessly weaved a story. She was narrator but she also had different voices for her characters.
Leave a child in a room alone and watch her without letting her know. What the child decides to engage herself with is what her brain naturally wants to be stimulated by. I’ve had several interesting insights into children and what arouses them by watching them in their quiet moments.
Five-year-old Purab discovered a love for football when he was left to himself at the high school grounds, while he accompanied his brother to his practice sessions.
Lami, a fourteen-year-old, picked up a book to read when she was left alone, while Sunil, a seventeen-year-old got increasingly bored and picked up his phone. He quickly let go of his phone however before a bunch of his peers walked in and engaged with him.
This was not the case however with Aditya, the same age as Sunil. He preferred fidgeting with an unfamiliar digital door lock system at first and was deeply engrossed in trying to understand the lock’s mechanism. He was satisfied only when he figured it out. Later he too picked up his phone, but he kept at it even when his friends came to call him. He finally looked up from his phone only when they made it impossible for him to focus.
Quiet time, in our culture, has increasingly been seen as “wasted time” rather than as one that is rich and fulfilling. It is important that children get some quiet time and that they get bored too. They need to engage themselves constructively and that they must find ways for it lead them to become decision makers. For us, parents, they then become important insights into their minds.
Eventually, with careful contemplation, there will be a list of ideas relative to what your child will enjoy. To watch your kids from a distance in their quiet time is a great habit for parents to develop as it will help you navigate them to the right direction without the risk of becoming patronising.
Quiet time leads to the invention of something innate to the child. In a world obsessed with awards and medals, perhaps a quiet time set aside, that cannot be a source for accolades feels counter-intuitive. Yet, it is exactly what children need.
Overexposure to varied activities and too much scheduling has been killing the creativity of our children, which is perhaps the only thing that is going to matter in the future.
A gratifying ‘alone time’ is the most valuable lesson that will keep them from dreading themselves. However, that does not mean that they need to be ignored. A watchful eye will go a long way into nurturing them into self- fulfilling individuals.
(Image: Your shot)
Some names have been changed for anonymity.