How much individual quiet time should a child have?
Much like adults in the real world, every child will be different. Some children may be more outgoing and will prefer to have as much social interaction as possible. On the other hand, some children may be more introverted and may enjoy themselves much more doing things quietly by themselves. All children should at least experience some individual quiet time during the day. This quiet time, when used by children to learn and play by themselves can help to cement very important life skills early on such as problem-solving, deductive reasoning and independence. Another thing to consider is that some children may have certain neurological conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder which can greatly affect how comfortable they feel alone vs interacting with other children. If a child does have a condition such as ASD it should be taken into account and it may be better to give them more individual quiet time than other children. However, it is still crucial that all children can also experience social interaction with others.
Why is it important for a child to experience both?
As with all things in life, balance is key. Regardless of how a child prefers to spend their day, it is very important for them to experience a good amount of both individual quiet time as well as social interaction with other children. The early childhood years are not only a time for taking first steps or for saying first words. They are also when, through their relationships with others, children are building expectations about their world and the people in it and are developing key skills such as:
- A sense of self including feeling good about themselves and what they can do
- Social skills to get along in life with others
- Emotional skills such as recognising, expressing and managing a wide range of feelings.
These first skills are very important as they form the foundations for children’s ongoing development and affect their mental health and wellbeing, now and into the future.
What about exercise?
Of course, exercise is always important regardless of the personality of a child and while searching for a childcare centre you should choose one which allows children to play outside. Exercise is not only key to a child’s physical health, but it is also important for their mental wellbeing and development. Physical activity and exercise also have many other benefits such as:
- Better self-esteem
- Stronger bones, muscles and joints
- Better posture and balance
- A stronger heart
- A healthier weight range
- Social interaction with friends
- Learning new skills while having fun
- Better focus and concentration during school
By making sure that your child has both adequate individual quiet time, as well as good opportunities for social interaction and plenty of exercise, you can be sure that you are giving them the very best chance for their future and feel good knowing that you are giving them a great kickstart for their growth and development.