Why Do Kids Waste Time?
Mar 15, 2017
Another reason on our top 5 list of why kids don’t succeed in college and beyond is because they waste time watching TV, surfing the web, playing video games or engaged in social media.
As parents it’s easy to understand the lure of these activities, but we often fail to understand how these habits or in some cases obsessions, get developed.
Children don’t feel like they matter
It is very common for children in today’s society to grow up feeling like they don’t matter.They learn early on that the world goes on whether they participate or not.
With two parents working and the fast pace of life children often don’t get the attention they need.
The result, tends to be children feeling like they don’t matter. In order to be successful in the world, children need to learn that who they are and what they do makes a difference.
Kids waste time because they don’t feel purpose driven
In years past children were a vital part of the family and performed a job or fulfilled a role that ensured the success of the household. They collected eggs or milked the cows, sometimes they helped with the family business or took care of younger children. In some cases young children earned wages to to support the family. Now it is becoming more and more rare for a child to have any vital family responsibilities responsibilities that make them feel their presence matters and makes a difference.
As a parent it is vital that you provide real life opportunities for your children to feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Allow children, even young ones, to take on responsibilities. They may not do things the way you would have, but if you acknowledge them for making your life easier they will feel that they made a difference.
Sometimes they will clean the dishes and stack them to dry covered in soap suds. This provides an opportunity for you to thank them for their help and to teach them about rinsing dishes. Have them help cook dinner, be your partner in creating or planning things for your family to do together.
Let them know that what they did matters to you
Let children know that who they are and what they do makes a difference and that coming home is happier and less stressful because of them.
Set up a time for them to volunteer for a charity or help them find a hobby they are passionate about. My daughter Sydney has loved horses since she first rode one at four years old. She is now almost eleven and just bought her own horse. She saved her birthday money, did extra chores and spent her ENTIRE summer break volunteering at the stables down the road, mucking stalls and feeding the horses. In return they sold her one of their horses below it’s market value to thank her for all her time and hard work. Now she spends 2 hours a day down at the stables taking care of her horse, riding it and doing farm chores in exchange for it’s boarding fees.
Obviously not every family can get a horse, but every family can listen to and encourage their child’s passions so that they will get a sense of purpose and accomplishment from things in the outside world- things that are lasting and meaningful, unlike the vanishing momentary excitement of beating the video game.
Children who have a passion are less likely to waste time
When Shelly’s daughter Blake was little she decided she wanted to have a fair. She took all the toys in her room that she didn’t want and set up a prize table. Then she created games like bean bag toss, or shave the balloon, and posted signs all over her town. She charged a quarter to get in and the games were a nickel each. Blake became obsessed with creating her dream fair and spent all her free time working out every detail, and as a bonus she made some extra money to get the toys she really did want!
So, how can we teach our children to be internally motivated like Blake was? How can we get them off the ‘time wasters’?
To answer that we must understand that these time wasters, (i.e. Facebook, video games and TV) also become a way to hide from insecurities and the real life problems that life hands us. Children use it as a way to not have to confront reality but rather run away from it. They learn to hide in world that doesnt really exist. Because children have no experience in handling real life issues they fail and flounder because they don’t have the skills and tools necessary to deal with things. So in addition to helping children find things they are passionate about, we must also suppress our instinct to fix every problem they face, and instead support them through finding solutions on their own.
This will empower them to face life head on, with purpose and determination instead of hiding from the world.