Why it's important to have 'do nothing' days

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock 

During school holidays my kids used to think they needed to do something fun every day and it was exhausting. 

It's hard enough working from home, cleaning and juggling the daily demands of three children, let alone also coming up with fun activities everyone enjoys. Yet, I still tried my hardest to keep holidays crammed with activities.

I realised that part of my problem was straight out 'mother guilt'. I'd see other kids on social media off on adventures, holidaying, exploring art galleries, bouncing on trampolines and eating ice creams bigger than their head and feel sorry for my own kids. While their peers were having loads of family fun time, my own children were hanging around the kitchen waiting for me to pop my head up from my computer screen.

So, I made it my mission to make sure they'd do something cool every day of the holidays. I'd get up extra early to work, pop a load of washing on and busily tap away on my keyboard. That way I'd be free to take them somewhere out of the house. And when my husband wasn't working, he'd whisk them off to somewhere cool too. Any time our days off coincided, we'd go on a family drive.

It was tiring, costly and totally ridiculous.

Then it hit me. They don't always need to be entertained. If they have 'do nothing' days or 'do nothing weeks', depending on how much work my husband and I had on, they would be ok.

So, that's when we started incorporating 'do nothing' days into their schedule. 

And you know what? They were completely fine with it. 

Instead of rushing around finding clothes to wear, and brushing teeth and hair, they could hang out in their pyjamas all day. 

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They play on their devices, watch TV, read and do craft. They fight and play games together. And when they're not doing something, they eat, because kids eat all of the time. 

When I take a break from work or household chores we bake cakes and biscuits together or cuddle up on the couch watching a movie. 

Life is so busy for everyone. School, sport, work commitments, birthday parties, play dates, homework, socialising, household chores and morning alarms. It's a constant rush.

Sometimes it's hard to catch your breath. And as adults, we forget our children need a break too. This is particularly important at the end of a school year. 

By cramming holidays full of activities, although fun, it doesn't give anyone a chance to be still.

And it's in the stillness that you can process what's happened during the year that's gone and think about what's coming up in the year ahead. This process of reflection is as important for children, as it is adults.

Having 'do nothing' days give everyone in the house a much-needed chance to simply stop and relax.

So, instead of making my kids' school holidays a constant barrage of excitement, I ensure they also have down time to get bored, reflect and do nothing – to recharge their body, mind and soul.