By Vaibhav Datar
Is your child living in an imaginary world? Do they tend to wander off looking preoccupied or lie on the bed staring at the ceiling, while you wonder what’s on their mind? This behaviour reflects your child’s imaginative tendencies, where he or she is anticipating or rehearsing a future scenario, known as “daydreaming and escapism”. They shift away from current reality into their own “self-created” perceived delusions.
Daydreaming and escapism is a universal human experience and a common phenomenon where every child and adult in their daily life becomes oblivious on a largescale and spend 47 per cent on an average on daydreaming. It is a string of consciousness within that detaches an individual from current outer reality. Parents and teachers often tend to quickly label a child’s day dreaming as a symptom of Attention Deficit Disorder, which is a sign of slacking or sluggishness.
However, the trend in children is definitely an alarming sign that your child isn’t getting the stimulation needed to focus on learning but also a sign of brilliance which can help your child’s social emotional development and creativity.
According to a study, “positive constructive” daydreaming, even in a heavy pattern, is not associated with any mental disorder and is considered a normal activity for a child indulging in an imaginative wanderlust.
Ever wondered why your children often put themselves in flight mode, choosing to escape from external reality? Parents must introspect on the reasons for their child’s behaviour and reaction to current events around them.
5 signs that tell you why your child is escaping into daydreams
· Regular parental fights and arguments often make the child escape from current reality and create a delusion where they are calm and happy. Notice the body language of your child, if he is spending most of his time alone and not communicating much.
· If your child has an imaginary best-friend, with whom he spends most of his time talking and communicating, and has no friends in real life.
· They may pursue solitary creative pursuits like drawing, singing, dancing, inventing new things, writing, etc.
· Get into a flight mode and imagine something when looking out of the window during a long drive or when the music played in the background.
· Notice the body language when smiling alone, crying alone, suddenly coming up with creative facial expression looking at oneself in the mirror and speaking in a different style.
Daydreaming as a rich mental playground
Daydreaming provides a child a “creative visualisation” and “future envisioning”. They discover their own reality within where they are projecting themselves as the hero of the story and pursuing their dreams. Rather than shutting down their mental escapades, parents must encourage their child to daydream in a healthy manner, for instance, in fresh air and sunshine as nature plays a pivotal role in nurturing inspiration and manifesting daydreams.
· We can encourage them by taking them on an excursion to different cultures and landscapes where they can meet new people and experience hardcore adventures, which will boost their imagination.
· You can ask your child to project themselves as a hero and discover which field they would like to pursue in future.
· Daydreams teach children to be calm and peaceful, develop empathy and better emotional learning for consolidation.
When daydreams become nightmares
· When your child’s behaviour impairs the daily function, he turns his flight mode on too often and is unable to concentrate and complete his homework.
· If the child is not present in a family gathering and his behaviour is harming personal relationships.
· Look out for forgetfulness, if there are multiple events of your child being absent-minded and wasting productive opportunities in school.
· Incomplete books and dwelling on an excessive absenteeism in school.
These signs could be considered as “maladaptive” and an “early signs of depression”.
Hypnosis as a relaxation technique
Hypnosis has been seen as a way to reduce peripheral conditions in kids and a way to learn self-meditation. You can practice daily with your child for 10 to 15 minutes during bedtime and early morning. This tranquil state can heighten concentration, introducing mindfulness with positive thoughts.
How to nurture your child’s imagination
· You can ask your child to relax on the bed, breathe slowly from the stomach and not the chest, deep dive into the past, remembering good things which make them feel relaxed and happy.
· Exhale with every word, the way they want to feel, for instance – “energised” and “calm”.
· By closing both eyes, recall a pleasing and joyful image from the past. Ask them to vividly experience it by remembering the sound, smell, colour and taste of the moment.
· After 10-15 minutes, ask your child to return with a good feeling from those memories.
(The writer is midlife coach and author of Simplify Your Life.)