Ever think of doing meaningful activities instead of forcing homework for your child?
Nobody likes homework.Growing up as Asian kids, I'm sure that not only did the majority of us have to do homework after school, but also attend tuition and various other extracurricular activities. High expectations and being "kiasu" are part of our culture, but do you remember how it made you feel? Probably pretty exhausted.
Now research has surfaced that homework probably does nothing to improve the academic performance of elementary students. It may even damage children's attitudes towards school and take a toll on their physical health. Knowing this, I probably will not be pushing my daughter to do tons of homework or tuition.
So what are some fun, developmentally appropriate meaningful activities can they do to become happy, healthy adults?
Meaningful Activities For Your Kids
When kids have a busy, scheduled day they lose the time they have to play and explore. David Elkind, Ph.D., author of The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children, writes that "Through play, children create new learning experiences, and those self-created experiences enable them to acquire social, emotional, and intellectual skills they could not acquire any other way.”
Instead of nagging your child to finish their homework or practice piano, why not simply have a conversation with them about their day? Conversations can help them learn about the world and cultivate empathy.
Read or listen to an audiobook
Developing a love for reading is important to doing well at school. Reading aloud helps to develop the vocabulary.
Do a puzzle
Being able to play alone helps children feel more relaxed and builds confidence.
Climb a tree
Yup, grandparents will probably be shaking their heads at this one. But risky play is good for kids because it helps them explore their own limits, learn to assess risks and how to negotiate their environments.
Play with dirt
Another one that will be frowned upon by the grannies, this kind of play called sensory play, is also critical for kids’ development. When kids knead clay or finger paint, they are stimulating their senses.
Help prepare dinner
Kids who learn about new foods, and how to prepare them may choose more nutritious foods later on. It also helps them be independent.
Volunteer at the animal shelter
There are emotional and psychological benefits for kids who care for injured animals and take on care-taking responsibilities for other people’s pets.
Plant a garden
Working in gardens may help them achieve higher scores in science because they’re actively engaging in scientific concepts and practicing math skills as they learn about plants.
Play dress up
When kids pretend to be superheroes or create fantasy plays with their soft toys, they’re learning about social roles, setting the stage for later learning, and processing ideas from the world around them. It's great for their creativity and problem solving skills.
When children participate in chores, they learn responsibility, how to contribute to family life, a sense of empathy and how to take care of themselves.
It's really not the end of the world if your child just wants to zone out and stare at the ceiling for a bit in fact it could be healthy. Downtime helps them reflect, rest and reset their minds and bodies.