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  • Skribentens bildSuzanne Axelsson

The Importance of Rest-time for Creativity

I have read about 18 things highly creative people do differently... and realised that all 18 of them I could check off... actually did not expect that... so much so I kept reading to see if there was more... surely I could not have checked off them all... I even had to count to make sure!! Although I have to admit I do mindfulness in my own way... Read the Huffington Post here.... What DID get me thinking is the amount of time you need to daydream, to observe, to people watch and for solitude... things that require you to slow down and be comfortable with yourself... How much time do children get for this?? This is something that I have just shared in my post "Does Boredom give birth to Creativity"

That children need time, not boredom I am really stubborn about rest time (and napping... but you can read about that under the sections for sleep - what with my husband being a sleep researcher and all that) - but if they are not napping then they NEED to rest. Children need to be given the time to just lie down and be comfortable with their own thoughts... to be given the space to daydream... A few years ago some of the children started preschool as 3-4 year olds and their parent unable to get them to rest... these children would not/could not lie down still and quiet for more than a few seconds... (we have parent active schooling in here in Sweden) These very same children later became comfortable with resting for 30-60 minutes... in a darkened room, with a story CD on low... so those who want to can listen, and for those who want to dream can get on with their thoughts and dream and reflect... As a teacher I also lie down - and can enjoy the same joy of relaxing with the children... BUT it has not been an easy road... relaxing has been a skill that the children have needed to learn... and it was certainly not relaxing for me in their process of learning this skill! I have also shared with the children the benefits of resting... they know why... and during the process they did not like learning this skill... it was "boring" because the children were not used taking responsibility for filling time with their imagination and often were afraid of missing something, or afraid of falling asleep - so once they were assured that I would wake them if they did happen to fall asleep they found it much easier to relax... and also talking about what we had imagined during rest together became a fun form of play... I also think that we do not need to fill every space with sound... or with our adult selves. I sat with one remaining child before being picked up from preschool... it was 45 minutes of her being the only child left. We shared an apple... in silence. She sat at the table munching slowly, inspecting the apple pieces, looking closely at her hands and the juice on them... and I just watched. After about ten minutes she looked up at me, smiled and showed me the small small bit of apple on one of her fingers "wash hands". She is two years old. In that time I am quite sure that she learned a great deal about the apple piece, transference and reflected upon the need to wash her hands... Taking the time to pause and to listen to what is important to her - rather than filling in the time with sound - my words and my thoughts. Being silent in a totally silent preschool is REALLY silent... like almost in an unnatural way - it's what made me really reflect on how important it is for children to have the space and the peace to think. To daydream... to observe... to keep those "things" that make us highly creative...

I have also noticed this in philosophy sessions, that there is a need for us as adults to feel comfortable with silence and to allow the children to know that we will not simply fill it. I think often silences are seen as awkward and that we think a child is struggling... and maybe they are a little... they just need the time to process it and be able to communicate it. if teachers fill that silence through fear that no-one will speak then the children will not learn the power of their own voice and their own ability to process things.

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