The idea for productive free time is that the children get time to do the things that they love to do. It varies, as you can see from the previous post from child to child but the thing that is the same is that it must be intentional. Productive is a bit of a misnomer as I don’t always expect something to be "produced" in the normal sense but I guess when they play games relationship is "produced", when they spend time thinking or daydreaming, ideas are "produced" and so forth. The idea is though that they keep a balance in the things that they do. For example I am happy for the computer to be used in their productive free time and yet if that is all they do I would be speaking to them and helping them find other pursuits.
Alexa asked me if I help my children in their productive free time. Yes, I do. The goal is for me to be totally available to them, staying in the same room, for 1 hour on the stay at home days, to help with their creative projects. After that hour I am still available but I will be doing other things and sometimes those other things are a higher priority. That is family life! On the weekends I will occasionally make this hour as my productive free time. I set aside that time for no interruptions for my creative projects to happen, but that is only every so often and during that time the kids have to occupy themselves.
My hope is that all four won’t need my attention all at the same time – if they do – they’ll have to wait! When I expect them to do it totally by themselves, with no supervision and no instruction from me then we seem to run out of puff. I like the times that I do the 1 hour with them and then they continue for the rest of the afternoon on their project mostly by themselves. My goal is that they learn to occupy themselves fitfully, that they have time to do the things on their heart rather than them being occupied so I can get on and do my stuff.
Our afternoon routine is planned to go something like this
Lunch / chores / Room time (for the younger two) which is where I have my 1 hour to do what needs to be done and the older two don’t interrupt me / project time for one hour, and then I am back doing what I need to do though am more available for interruptions and requests.
This happens 2-3 afternoons a week plus the weekend. (well, that is the plan!)