It's Black Friday! Celebrate by doing absolutely nothing.
- Amanda Bindel, Toca Magazine Writer
The Thanksgiving leftovers aren’t even put away before the Black Friday catalogs are pulled out and kids of all ages start drooling over the fun new stuff for their holiday wish lists. If they see it, they want it — and it’s fun for Mom and Dad, too, to see the cool deals and best buys. Hot, new toys. Educational toys. The latest technology. Natural toys. Toys to encourage creativity and toys to build better brains. But before you rush out to fight crowds and stand in lines, bask in the glow of some down time. And let the kids play. It’s good for you and good for the kids. The kids will develop social-emotional skills. You’ll save money. And everyone will have fun (most of the time)!
Before you rush out to fight crowds and stand in lines, bask in the glow of some down time.
Let the kids play on their own. If you’re with friends or family and have a gaggle of kids around, that’s prime free play time! Don’t worry about suggesting activities or supervising play. They’ll figure that out on their own, having fun and developing social-emotional skills. Don’t worry about matching kids into similar age-groupings. Younger kids and older kids both learn and grow playing in mixed age groups. Enjoy a glass of wine or a piece of pie — or both! If little squabbles break out, take a deep breath and let the kids handle it. Most of the time they’ll work it out or ask you if they really need help. They’re developing independence, learning to solve problems and building resilience.
They’re developing independence, learning to solve problems and building resilience.
This do-nothing approach — sometimes called benign neglect in parenting circles — can be good for both kids and parents. Modern parenting is full of how-tos, with books and online communities discussing every aspect of child-rearing. With all this information can come worry and guilt, and sometimes parents overcompensate by filling every moment of kids’ days or helping them with every task. Stepping back empowers kids to learn to make their own decisions and frees parents from the need to control every aspect of kids’ lives.
So enjoy a do-nothing day and don’t feel a moment of guilt about it — or about that third slice of pie!