Why do children need to be left alone?

Being alone can help children thrive, but some children may not be getting enough of it because of their busy school schedules.

People often worry that toddlers have little social contact, children don't go to school, teenagers don't have friends... Regardless, it's rare for parents to think about their children being alone. how long is enough.

The researchers found parents were uncomfortable with the idea of ​​leaving a child alone. Much of a child's life these days, there is hardly any private or leisure time. Studying at school, learning additional knowledge, skills, talents... consumes all of the children's time to eat, sleep, and rest. The focus on enriching childhood is causing children to become thin, stressed, and less able to be alone.

Having alone time is essential for children to grow up to be healthy. Photo: Popsugar

What happens when the noise and harassment never stop?

According to experts, looking for moments of solitude is instinctive for babies from the moment they are born. Even babies will walk away from interactions, skip eye contact and cry if someone tries to approach them.

The researchers found that elementary-school-age children tended to withdraw from a shared activity after becoming aware of, or completing, a reading or drawing task when alone. Maybe you've seen a teenager with headphones or a hood on, when they clearly just wanted to be with themselves.

Young children often use time alone to process strong emotional moments. Robert Coplan, a psychologist at Carleton University, USA, cites a frequent example: Toddlers who are scolded by their parents will retreat to their rooms.

"If you have a hidden camera in there you'll see that they're probably acting out a scene of being scolded with a doll... Having the doll is the child, the doll is the mother. By thinking and practicing on their own. , they begin to better regulate 'big emotions' and learn from mistakes," says Coplan.

Studying the solitude of children Paola Corsano, University of Parma, Italy, says that playing alone can even develop skills of concentration and planning. As children get older, their capacity for solitude and introspection begins to increase and their need for quietness increases.

One reason teenagers hide in their own rooms is because they are in a period of self-discovery and solitude helps them realize that they are different from their peers or family members.

Virginia Thomas, professor of psychology at Middlebury University in the US, says that teenagers are starting to focus more on the big questions: "Who am I, what do I believe in and what direction my life is going in? , what does it mean?". They also tend to be sensitive to social pressures, and solitude can help children breathe and recharge.

Research shows that teens who take moderate time to themselves seem to score better and have lower rates of depression than those who don't. And Thomas says that when they reflect on questions of self-identity, the result is "self-connection" that can help them for the rest of their lives. Instead of being easily influenced by those around them, they are more likely to make decisions that align with their own values.

There's nothing to suggest, though, that children need to be alone all the time. Different children require different alone time. They should be the ones to decide that rate, not the adults. Studies have shown that when children seek solitude on their own, there is a much more positive effect than being forced. Unfortunately, much of a child's childhood does not have this right of self-determination.

Parents today who consider their children vulnerable and the world around them dangerous should supervise at all times, to ensure both their physical safety and future success. "One thing where solitude can be really good is that there's no chronology. You have a sense of freedom to explore your interests, explore nature, explore the world," says Corsano. But many parents, on the contrary, see the free moments in their children's schedules as "emptiness" that needs to be filled.

When kids today are alone, they often use their phones or computers. Although there are studies that show that using social networks helps children to be less lonely . But these platforms also hinder the benefits of solitude.

So should parents worry about their children's loneliness? Many children today have fewer siblings, a separate bedroom, and more time alone than they did in the past. But our society is demanding solitude perhaps more than ever, as pre-established routes mean children don't need to worry so much about locating themselves.

According to experts, "solitude skills" can be built gradually, even in just 20 minutes. A child can work through that discomfort and learn to process their emotions. And for kids who naturally enjoy solitude, parents should know they're not exactly antisocial loners. These children have always existed.

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