Take a Deep Breath: Why Stepping Back is Good For Kids’ Development

Take a Deep Breath: Why Stepping Back is Good For Kids’ Development

By: Jeff Gratton

Accidents can be avoided and summer is the season for accidents. Preventing them is no secret:  Accidents are caused by haste, fatigue, and distraction. So guess what? When families’ days are over-stuffed with activities, we are courting problems. Nowadays our culture seems to have an increasing aversion to unstructured time. That’s a pity. Children need to daydream, to ponder life, and simply regroup. Adults do too. When our schedules are overtaxed, more bad stuff happens. Let me ask you: Who is safer crossing the parking lot at Whole Foods? The nanny (or parent) in a rush with cranky, harried, tired kids in tow? Or the nanny whose kids are well-rested, alert, and calm?  Many of you might be asking, how do I get children to appreciate fewer activities and not more? The answers might seem difficult to find.  In the last century, Maria Montessori devoted her life to this and similar questions. In our century visitors to Montessori-based schools are often surprised by the atmosphere of quiet contentment and concentration. Teaching families to gain more from doing less is a rare talent. A gifted nanny has this talent. Learning to do less can mean a much more interesting and richer life. It can also mean fewer accidents.

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