Today’s children are exhausted, and not just because one in three children is not getting enough sleep. Children need to sleep around ten hours, so lack of sleep drastically affects, on many occasions, academic performance, physical growth, increased bad mood and irritability … But sleep does not It is the only rest that children can find, since there are others (never substitutes for sleeping) that can also serve, and a lot, so that the little ones find a beautiful way to relax and rest and disconnect, and it is none other than the daydreaming.

 

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Daydreaming is a source of creativity and learning, as well as a very healthy and beneficial entertainment for your health. A time of inactivity that is very rich, because it allows to develop and enhance the imagination, as well as to reflect in a private and intimate way. But not all mental downtime is the same, of course. Downtime spent playing a video game or TV show may have its charm, but it’s not usually that beneficial downtime, far from it. Quality mental downtime does have a positive impact, among other things, making people more creative and less anxious.

When the brain is free from interruptions and allowed to disconnect from the runaway train of day-to-day worries, or when the mind wanders freely between random thoughts and memories floating through our consciousness, we are growing as people. Television, video games, and other electronic distractions prevent this type of mental and emotional rest, because they interrupt the flow of thoughts and memories that lay the foundation for a positive and productive sleep .

We have two mental networks, working memory and the ability to daydream. The two cannot function at the same time, so when we connect our working memory network, we turn off our daydream network. These two ways of thinking may be different and mutually exclusive, but both are necessary for our emotional and intellectual health. That is why we must banish the idea that when a child “is in the clouds” he is wasting his time , because when a child or any other person is daydreaming, he is actually working.

 

 

Benefits of daydreaming for children

Its enormous benefits include self-awareness, creative incubation, improvisation and evaluation, memory consolidation, autobiographical planning, goal-oriented thinking, future planning, retrieval of deeply personal memories, reflective consideration the meaning of events and experiences, the evaluation of the implications of the self and the emotional reactions of others, moral reasoning and reflective compassion.

In other words, daydreaming is only wasting time when viewed from the outside, but viewed from the inside it is a complicated and extremely productive neurological process that takes place. Our children, by daydreaming, are exploring the only space in which they really have autonomy: their mind.

 

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Mental downtime can therefore relieve stress for a person even in the educational environment , as pressure and standards often cause children to be anxious and overly nervous.

Many teachers, over the years, have found that when students are allowed a few minutes to think and / or record their thoughts and reflections in private, they alleviate any state of anxiety they may have. Of course, this inactivity permit must be done at the right time, otherwise it could have detrimental effects on the performance of your tasks.

 

 

How should parents and teachers teach daydreaming?

On the one hand we should stop pulling children out of their dreams when this moment of escape occurs. Instead, we must protect this time as much as we protect bedtime. Encourage the little ones to go for a walk around the neighborhood without an electronic device, and tell them that silence and daydreaming are as important to their health and learning as sleeping and studying. Take a serious and objective analysis of how much time your children spend playing video games, answering text messages, watching television … and make sure they spend part of that time dreaming for a while while awake.

But do not focus only on them and try to reserve a space of your time to do so, because there is nothing better in life than to lead by example. Incorporating opportunities for daydreaming into everyday life can nurture the teaching skills and positive frame of mind needed for parenting and education as adults. The place does not matter, because any space can be good to wander for a while and dream of that world that we believe is possible.

 

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Valuing silence and the capacity for reflection will be a good teaching for your children and students, since with this they will also learn to be at peace with themselves, something that they will undoubtedly value a lot in the future. Lean back on the grass, look out the window to observe the blue sky or the noise of the birds … and look at the clouds, as they are usually an infinite guide to dreams and an incomparable source of imagination and hope.

Being able to build castles in the air with the support of teachers or Mom and Dad is something that is priceless.

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