Have you ever had that feeling on a Saturday, driving from a youth soccer game to a jumpy house birthday party to karate class?
I didn’t think so.
You see, I’ve come to realize that kids don’t care one bit about plans. When we make plans, it’s to satisfy us, not them.
They want to do whatever their brain tells them to do at every moment. They can’t do that when they’re strapped into a car seat staring at our heads or when they’re standing around watching their sister play a nice, controlled game of soccer.
In short, when we’re wandering around with them, without a plan, they’re in control, not us parents. Kids who aren’t used to being in control may not know what to do with that control at first. However, kids who are experts at “wandering around aimlessly” thrive.
Actually, they’re far from aimless – they’re merely free of our aims, free to decide what they want to do at every moment. Have you ever tried to drive somewhere you’ve been to, but always as the passenger, not the driver? I hardly ever know how to get to a place until I figure out how to get there myself. Similarly, kids don’t learn much when we determine what they do, where, and when.
Kids who “wander around aimlessly” learn how to explore, how to talk to people, how to use their bodies. They gain confidence and mastery. And, they have a wonderful time doing it all.
As they get older, they’ll develop a desire to plan ahead on their own, but while they’re young, let them be in control. That means less planning and more fun. Doesn’t that sound like a win-win for you and the kids?