A few weekends ago, we skipped a birthday party of a boy from our daughter’s class. We didn’t have a conflict on our schedule – in fact we didn’t have anything on our schedule. We simply RSVP’d no, and didn’t go.
I felt a few pangs of guilt – would Viv feel like she had missed out? Maybe. We had nothing else planned, shouldn’t we just go? Maybe. We didn’t know most of the other invitees, so shouldn’t we go introduce ourselves and possibly make some new friends? Maybe.
But we didn’t. We stayed home.
So what did we do instead? To be honest, I can’t remember. I’m guessing we did like we normally do on a Saturday morning when we have no plans – stay in PJs way too long, stroll into town for bagels and coffee, read the paper while our girls play around us…a whole lot of “nothing”, that to us is “everything”.
My mom sent me an article about the benefits of simplifying childhood, and as I read it, I thought back to that pang of guilt I had felt for skipping the 3-year old birthday party a few weeks back. Around paragraph 20, that guilt drifted away.
The article hints at the rise in childhood mood disorders, anxiety, ADHD, and suggests that our fixation on over scheduling and excess are at least partly to blame.
“When children are overwhelmed they lose the precious down time they need to explore, reflect and release tension.”
” Too many choices erodes happiness, robbing kids of the gift of boredom which encourages creativity and self-directed learning.”
It will be a good reminder for the adult-children in the household too.