Day dreaming is a behavioural disorder. Day dreamers are actually not in touch with the reality. They are absorbed in their own world. Day dreamer child may lose social contact with his surrounding. Read on to know more.
Shraviya is an intelligent 8-year-old girl who was good at her studies. She could grasp and retain anything that was explained to her just once. But over the past couple of months her grades had started dropping. Her mother often caught her staring out of the window for hours on end. Her teacher constantly pulled her up for daydreaming in class. How could she grasp what was being taught if she just was not paying attention? Finally her father took her to see a child guidance counselor.
Here her parents learnt that daydreaming is a fairly common phenomenon - and though it is not harmful, it should not be indulged in excessively. Daydreaming is easy enough to diagnose, but unfortunately it is equally difficult to get rid of. And if taken to an extreme, it can physically endanger the child or others around.
Richa Saklani, a reader from India, submitted this interesting case of Mark Twain. "There are patterns, no doubt, but creativity and genius don't come from patterns. Mark Twain was a daydreamer--in his autobiography, he recounts an episode of when he was daydreaming when he took his infant for a drive -- the clothes flew off the child and the child was blue with cold. The child died a few days later. I admire Twain's honesty and confidence and his faith in his own quirks that would have made him write this in an otherwise happy and amused account of life. While I agree that the source of daydreaming may be the need to escape from unpleasant or stressful situations, I also believe that a child's natural habits should not be threatened through something as horrible and useless as vigilance. They say that the whole world is an illusion - sab maya hai - someone's daydream maybe. A daydreaming child would have sensitivity, depth and intelligence. She should be encouraged to be herself - should not be disturbed, should be given her space and nurtured."
Thus as you can see, while daydreaming does inspire imagination, it could also shut you out from reality. This is because the daydreamer is so lost in his thoughts that he loses his bearings entirely and is oblivious to things around him. If a daydreaming child happens to be on the road, this state of mind can prove to be very dangerous, or even fatal. I know of a person who almost got run over by a vehicle. He didn't even see it coming, so lost was he in his business problems. Similarly, Mrs. Srinivasan, an eminent lawyer, does not drive the car when she has a particularly absorbing case, because she tends to completely lose her bearings in trying to come up with a winning argument.
How does daydreaming start?
First we should try to understand how it begins. In some cases the child might not want to accept an unpleasant situation that he or she is faced with. This could be a constant stressful situation at home or school. The child then finds it easier and certainly more fun to mentally disappear into another more pleasant world of his own creation. A world of fantasy in which he can have whatever he likes, even things that he cannot have in reality. In other cases the child is so obsessed with his own thoughts, that he is absolutely unconcerned by the happenings in his environment. So even though he is physically present, he is mentally in absentia and loses sight and sound of everything around him.
Day dreaming can be very distracting. Your child may have difficulty completing the task at hand, because he tends to get distracted by day dreams. This affects his day to day working, and your child slowly gets more and more absent-minded. After a point, he may start losing physical and social contact with his surroundings and become increasingly withdrawn. This is the beginning of a vicious circle, as he will further withdraw into his world each time he meets with a setback of any kind. Studies Very often, your child's studies suffer as a result of constant day dreams. You may wonder why your child is not getting the grades, even though he seems buried in his books for hours on end. Simple. His mind is elsewhere, wandering the globe!
Creativity and daydreaming
Now that we've spoken about the dangers of excessive daydreaming, it's time to look for the silver lining in the dark cloud. Yes, daydreaming has its advantages too. While daydreaming is not a desirable habit, it does have a few redeeming points. Day dreaming fosters a child's imagination, and enhances creativity. Did you know that most of the famous people have been day dreamers? So if the extent of day dreaming is controlled, everything is fine. But if your child is a habitual day dreamer and tends to wander off a bit too often for comfort, it's time you did something about it.
Tips on how to reduce your child's tendencies to wander off:
Observe your child
You should try and curb your child's day dreaming tendencies at as young an age as possible. Ask yourself these questions: Is your child getting enough sleep? Is he too tired? Or is he well rested?
Does your child get enough exercise? Very often the lack of a physical workout is compensated by an over-active 'mental workout'. Make sure your child exercises enough. Enroll him in tennis classes, get him interested in swimming, or encourage him to start playing cricket with the neighbourhood boys.
Reduce the amount of television your child watches. This almost always plays a role in distracting your child from the mundane realities of life, and sets him off on a parallel tangent.
Look for irregularities in your child's schedule. Has he suddenly stopped hanging out with a particular close friend? Has he started going to bed early? These will provide keys to his behaviour.
Sit with your child and make a homework checklist. Make sure he completes his assignments. While it is not advisable to sit with him and plan out his homework constantly, a push in the right direction will definitely not harm.
Get in touch with your child's teacher. Explain the situation to her. In all likelihood she would have noticed his tendency to day dream or his absent-mindedness as well. Work with her in getting him to focus more in the class room. Find out if he can be seated in the front of his class.