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Why daydreaming is not a waste of time and why you need to make it part of your days

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“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – John Lubbock, 19th-century British banker.

A few weeks ago, my daughters and I went on our regular morning walk. I try to maximize this time as my form of exercise. On this particular morning, I told my toddler that she could get out of the stroller and walk if she kept a quick pace. I recognized my mistake instantly; every object around us intrigued her straightway. Every flower had to be smelled, each patch of grass needed to be sat on, and every puddle needed to be jumped in. My initial thought was to admit defeat in my effort to be productive, but the more I watched her I realized that I was allowing my daughter to just be.

Teach Kids to Daydream”, an article published in The Atlantic (2013), suggests that mental downtime makes people more creative and less stressed; “daydreaming has been found to be anything but counter-productive. It may just be the hidden wellspring of creativity and learning in the guise of idleness.”

As the same article continues, “teach your kids how to just be. How to value silence and be at peace with nothing but their thoughts to occupy them. Make the romantic notion of laying back on the soft grass with nothing to do other than to watch the clouds pass overhead a reality.”

Time to Daydream

Thus, I know now that we need to allow time for ourselves to daydream if we want to instill this principle into our children. As research suggest daydreaming has many benefits. Here are some according to Scott Barry Kaufman & Rebecca McMillan Ode to Positive Constructive Daydreaming: 

  • “self- awareness,
  • creative incubation,
  • improvisation and evaluation,
  • memory consolidation,
  • autobiographical planning,
  • goal driven thought,
  • future planning,
  • retrieval of deeply personal memories,
  • reflective consideration of the meaning of events and experiences,
  • simulating the perspective of another person,
  • evaluating the implications of self and others’
  • emotional reactions, moral reasoning,
  • and reflective compassion.”

Since that morning walk, I have tried to make a more conscious effort to allow time for daydreaming:

As a first step, I have established our afternoons as technology free times. This has stimulated more use of our imaginations. I have felt less distracted in general, and I have enjoyed being able to see more creativity in my daughter. This is just one little change, one step at a time. But I hope this is a philosophy that becomes part of our daily routine. And it becomes something valuable that I can instill in my children as we continue to embrace the art of just being.


Betsy ProfileABOUT THE AUTHOR –  Columnist at MissCareerLess
Betsy currently resides in Utah, USA, where she was born and raised. After the birth of her little girl, Betsy decided to leave the workforce and become a full-time mom. She is currently busy helping her two little girls discover the beauty, creativity and love in the world. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” -Eleanor Roosevelt, is a philosophy that she hopes to instill in her children. Betsy believes in stepping outside of your comfort zone and realizing your full potential.

Edited by Virag


Photo credit: Flickr / greg westfall (the picture was amended by MCL)

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