Time for a Break!

Children in Singapore are hard workers. They often have a lot of activities in and out of school. Aside from their schoolwork, many also attend tuition or other enrichment lessons. In the midst of their hectic schedules, it is important for them to take regular breaks as well, so that they are able to take care of their physical and mental well-being. And with Chinese New Year just around the corner, it is understandable that many children would be excited to take a breather from their packed timetables.

Different Types of Rest

Nobody can work for 24 hours a day. It is only natural that we would want to take a break now and then to take care of our bodies. It is especially important for children to have enough rest, as this is essential to their physical and mental development.

Taking a break does not only entail sleeping, although sleep is very important in childhood development. It also means letting children play and have fun. In a 2016 parents’ seminar organised by the Guidance Branch of the Ministry of Education, Dr Maureen Neihart, who is an associate professor at the National Institute of Education (NIE), emphasised the importance of doing fun activities to boost children’s emotions and make them more resilient.

So what are the benefits of sleep and play?

Benefits of Sleep

Children aged 6 to 12 should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep every day. The brain needs regular breaks to function at its best. Sleeping well will help children feel refreshed and energised, and also helps them to process information. Getting adequate sleep is thus good for a child’s physical and mental development.

Benefits of Play

Playtime allows children to hone their imagination and creativity. As they learn to solve problems during play, children can also develop their decision-making, social and emotional skills. Engaging in play can also be beneficial for strengthening the bonds between children and their parents. Family activities can focus on solidifying parent-child relations that may otherwise be neglected if the child were to only focus on their schoolwork.

How to Strike a Balance

It is not easy to find a good balance between study and rest. However, there are several guiding steps that can help parents to find the best fit for their child:

  1. Actively schedule in play time

Parents should set aside timings for their child to play, so that he or she will not be overwhelmed with their studies. Doing so can also help the child develop good work-life habits into adulthood.

2. Take note of the child’s needs

Parents should always be mindful of their child’s abilities and emotions so that they can plan adequate break times that would be the most beneficial for him/her.

3. Give lots of love and encouragement

Children should not feel pressured to finish everything on their schedule. It is more important that they feel assured that their parents will love and support them in whatever they do.

Whether it be through play or sleep, taking breaks is undoubtedly beneficial to a child’s development. It is important for children to take adequate time to rest and relax in between their busy schedules, so that they can focus on other important aspects of their lives and other interests that they fancy.