I came across an interesting article a while ago called “Why Daydreaming Isn’t a Waste of Time.” The title especially caught my eye because (1) as a child I was very prone to daydreaming, and (2) one of my books, The Incredible Martin O’Shea, is a book about a daydreamer who learns to pay attention in school. The idea behind the book is that learning in school can help Martin make his daydreams about what he wants to be when he grows up come true. The thing I like best about this story is that it doesn’t condemn the idea of daydreaming, but it can be used by parents to point out to their children that there’s a time and a place for daydreaming.
Here’s a quick summary of the article.
Unexpected benefits of daydreaming
- Daydreaming is a time of looking inward that lets us process the things that take place outside of ourselves. It helps us develop “a rich internal environment” and make sense of what we experience on a day-to-day basis.
- Based on a 2004 Stanford University neuro-imaging study, it turns out that giving our minds time and freedom to wander can actually increase our ability to focus and pay attention when needed.
A Suggestion for Parents
- Kids are connected to external stimulation (phones, television, music, etc.) more than ever before. Help your kids by setting aside time for them to be unplugged from various devices. Promote quiet time.
I would add one more suggestion of my own for parents.
- Set a good example for your kids by taking some time to be device-free yourself. Don’t deny yourself a little time to daydream (although you may have to do it when the kids aren’t around). It will do you good and help you be more focused on all the many things you have to do every day.
So no, I don’t mind seeing kids daydreaming, if it doesn’t drastically interfere with other important activities. I like to know that daydreamers are developing from the inside out, and that daydreaming is going to help them be more focused when needed. Most of all I like to say that it’s okay to be a daydreamer!
p.s. Daydreamer extraordinaire, Martin O’Shea has just been featured in a dreamy book trailer. Check out the YouTube video.