Since we have tweaked our afternoon routine, making time for Productive Free Time we are dealing with some issues as well as reaping the benefits. I thought I would check out what I wrote a few years back when we were making the same tweak. This was written in 2005.
Free Time versus Productive Time
How I wish we had never introduced the concept of Free Time to our children. I believe it has given them an expectation to wile away their time. I know it is only a “language” issue as most of their time is productively spent. But…. It is attitude.
I am trying to introduce the term “Productive Time”. In their productive time they can read, make, write, play, listen to tapes, …. There is so much to do. And most of it they would choose to do in their Free time.
So what is the issue…. The issue is that with the words Free Time comes an expectation, something that is their due… and laziness. With the words Productive Time comes an attitude of creativity, initiative, involvement, thinking.
So do I expect my children to never relax and just blob out … no far from it… I love that part of my day too. It is attitude. What happens when I have my blob out time out of balance with my Productive Time? You can see the effects of my laziness all around the house… the laundry is behind, the ironing is stacked up, the meals a quick and of limited nutrition, and I actually get tired!
My goal is, as I learn the lesson of balance myself, I’ll teach my children at the same time. May we all gain the self-control necessary to enjoy our life and to get the most from every opportunity.
One way I am weaning the word “Free Time” from our vocab is to have a set time in our day when the children are accountable for their Productivity. Productive Time. Then have a small amount of time at the end of the day where they have “Free Time” This shows them the balance but also helps them feel that the free time they have always had they still have.