The Benefits of Solitude for Kids and Parents Alike
You know your kids need attention — from the time they’re born, they need to be loved and played with and stimulated. But, that doesn’t mean you have to be hanging over their shoulders every minute of every day. There’s a line parents must balance between giving their children enough attention and overwhelming them with too much attention.
Allowing your child (and yourself) to have “me” time enhances both of your lives, and can even strengthen your bond with each other. The goal is to balance family time with solitude. Take a look at the benefits of solitude and how to find the time for it.
The Power of Solitude
There’s a lot of power in allowing both children and adults to spend time by themselves. Experiencing solitude helps individuals learn certain tasks, think creatively, and deal with their emotions. The right amount of time spent alone can even improve empathy and social skills.
Research shows that solitude helps individuals form lasting memories. One Harvard study suggests that people form lasting memories when they believe they’re experiencing something alone. For example, a child learning a musical instrument may have an easier time remembering the notes and fingerings if they have time alone to practice it.
A certain amount of solitude gives a person control over their time, and a feeling of freedom. In solitude, they can work through complicated issues at their own pace, or unwind at the end of a busy day.
That’s not to say solitude is superior over social interaction when it comes to learning and handling emotions. It simply means that the two work together to help people become the best they can be. For children, solitude may mean time spent learning new things without feeling self-conscious. For parents, it can give the time they need to relax and recharge.
The Problem: No One Gets Alone Time Anymore
While many parents understand the benefits of alone time, they don’t always find the time for it. Whether your time is eaten up by driving your kids to soccer practice and music lessons, or you’re trying to get the family to sit down for a nice meal, the fact is that parents’ lives are busy.
What’s worse is that if you leave your children alone — to ride their bikes around town, or to play games in their own bedrooms — there’s a good chance you’ll be judged for “neglecting” them. Remember this: solitude and neglect are not synonymous.