dealing_positively_daydreamerYou tell your preschooler to put her toys away and she gets started – but then, instead of seeing her picking up her games and action figures, you find her gazing at one of her favorites with a half-smile on her face. You get a call from her preschool teacher saying that your daughter never disrupts the group but she tends to drift off into her own thoughts rather than focusing on the new activity being explained. Then, when you go to check up on her, she’s staring out the window.

It sounds like you’ve got a daydreamer!

This can sometimes be frustrating, especially when you need to frequently remind your child to stay on task, but research in 2012 suggests that your daydreamer may actually have a sharper brain than average because “those who appear to be constantly distracted in fact have more ‘working memory,’ giving them the ability to do two things at the same time.”

Benefits of daydreaming

Daydreaming is not, remember, in and of itself a problem. In fact, there are numerous benefits of daydreaming, as this article, How Daydreaming Helps Children Process Information and Explore in Psychology Today, explains. “Positive-constructive daydreaming,” this article reveals, is connected with “creativity, healthy social adjustment, and good school performance.” Later on, the article points to the social component of daydreaming, as it can help children to develop both social skills and empathy for others; the text ends on this note:

“Daydreams are a highly creative form of mental engagement and a necessary way for children –lacking real-world experience – to process complex information and emotions.”

Managing daydreaming

If you find yourself becoming concerned about the amount of daydreaming your child is doing, offers tips in their article, Help for the Daydreaming Child. Stopping your child from daydreaming is not the goal. Instead, you’ll want to help him or her to refocus. 

One method involves giving your child a device that makes a sound or vibrates after a predetermined amount of time. When it goes off, your child marks down on a piece of paper whether he or she was daydreaming or staying on task. Ideally, this strategy will help your child to monitor his or her own behavior, although it may not work for too-young children. 

On a highly practical note, make sure your child is eating nutritious foods and getting enough rest. Healthy foods can help a child control his or her attention more effectively. Conversely, not getting enough sleep can cause anyone’s mind to start to wander, regardless of age and ability to focus. also offers constructive suggestions in 3 Positive Ways to Help Your Daydreaming Child that involve tapping into your child’s creativity. If your son loves to pretend that he is a superhero, for example, let him dress up as one and participate in a superhero game with him. That way, you’re allowing him to play and indulge in his fantasy game while reinforcing that the characters involved are imaginary. This strategy also places limits and boundaries, time-wise and place-wise, on this role playing. 

How can you help your child express creativity through coloring and other forms of art? Through play groups in the local area? Through participating in skits and other forms of drama? In your efforts to manage your child’s daydreaming, you may start him or her on the road to a lifelong creative pursuit!

Are you looking for a preschool/child care program that is affordable and provides quality educational opportunities for your child? Contact the Horizon Education Center in your neighborhood.

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