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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is daydreaming a powerful tool or a waste of time?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

With the relaxed pace of summer, children have more time to explore, dig, build and create. As a result, summer is a great time to encourage kids to daydream.

Really?

Many of us worry that daydreaming will keep our children from reaching their full potential. In reality, the opposite may be true.

Inventors, playwrights, sculptors and other creative thinkers are notorious for “dreaming up” scripts, products, scientific concepts and artistic styles.

Today, several top universities teach classes on “daydreaming — brainstorming, visual thinking and creativity. And some businesses encourage directed dreaming, with pencil and paper or electronic sketchpad, to develop winning ideas. Some businesses even offer employees financial rewards for innovation.

In addition, daydreaming (also called visualization) is used to improve sports performance. When an athlete goes through an upcoming game or event in her head, she “sees” herself performing the moves, the shot or the plays to win the event. Some experts believe the body and brain interpret this visualization as real practice instead of a pretend exercise.

So how can we encourage our children to daydream?

First, limit the time your children spend playing electronic games. These games limit the way the brain processes information and can negatively impact how your children dream.

Expose your children to as many things as possible. It is important for them to interact with people who have a wide range of interests and viewpoints, see many different places and experience many types of activities. Fortunately, these experiences do not have to be expensive. With a little creativity, parents can find many no/low cost ways to expose their children to diverse things.

Foster reading. Kids can learn many things from books.

Lead by example. Kids observe everything. They are more likely to dream, set lofty goals and work toward those goals, if they see their parents doing the same thing.

Encourage visualization. Ask your children to draw pictures or sketches of their dreams and aspirations. The process of moving concepts from thoughts to paper is an excellent way to help children set goals.

Lead by example. Kids observe everything. They are more likely to dream, set lofty goals and work toward those goals, if they see their parents doing the same thing.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to let your children dream. Their dreams will not only help them lead fulfilled lives, but lay the foundation for a better tomorrow.

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