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Raising Children Topics..

You are here : home > Raising Children > Behavioral Problems > Day Dreaming

Day Dreaming

Day Dreaming

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.

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jane.9 years ago
This is a wonderful article with wonderful comments.
Day dreaming is good if it’s put to use otherwise it can be bad. As a child I was a daydreamer and I rarely listened to teachings or anything. In my day dreams I created a perfect world which wasn't existing in reality. Day dreaming gave me good imagination, I loved writing poems, stories, which I realized quite late in my life, and sadly I lost the habit of listening. Because as soon as anybody starts speaking or giving lecture in class my mind shifted to daydreaming and once if you get used to it then it’s kind of irreversible.
Even while travelling in a car or bus I was day dreaming never really noticed what is going on around me. Because of this later in life I felt quite a huge gap of general knowledge when I compared myself with my peers. They knew a lot by asking, seeing where as I wasn't there in that world at all. Hope you are getting me. This leads to lack of confidence and low self esteem.
Hence day dreaming is good if it is put to use. If your child is day dreaming encourage your child to put down his dream in a paper. Then you will know what he is dreaming. Is he trying to escape from reality, if so it’s bad. Otherwise appreciating the child’s imagination may bring out his creative side.
Usually day dreamers will be good at writing or imaginary stuff. Let that side of the child shine and let it not be mere day dreaming. This is from my experience.
mino.9 years ago
day dreamers can be very dangerous some time..
Mary.9 years ago
I'm 65 years old, and have been a daydreamer all my life. my grade school report cards, the comments from my teachers say I'm a daydreamer. my adult kids always tell me are you lisening mom. I tell them yes I am, even tho I was kids tell me well then what did I say, so I tell them what they said, the important parts. some times I watch my grand kids play and I'll daydream, of something in the past. but I'll catch myself doing it alot. so some times it was good, other times not good. wish I knew what causes this. but I feel it's not a bad thing. because you still can hear around you, and aware whats going on. I kinda like it most of the time,like 80% b/c you go into a far away land.maybe I should start writing down what I was thinking at the time, and just maybe I can make something out of it. but I see nothing bad of it. at least were not alone, most common.
Richa.10 years ago
Hey..!! I myself was a daydreamer once..!! But when i started hanging out and spending more time with my friends and family, it stopped..!! If you don't want your child to become day dreamer, create situations that seems better than dreams to him... When reality is better than dreams, a child stops day dreaming..!! Usually Day dreaming is done to give mental satisfaction to our self..!! If some child is day dreaming it means he is upset or he doesn't have much friends or he is not interested in the task..!!
sherry.12 years ago
If you notice a child staring out into space for a few seconds and then they come right back, it could be a sign of Absence seizures, which is a form of epilepsy. my son has this and it started at a young age of 4 or 5,but we didn't get it fully diagnosed until the age of 12. He now is on medicine which helps tremendouly. He also has ADD(attention deficit disorder) and is on medication for that also. He was failing in school this year from sept-dec. but after the medication for ADD, he turned his grades around and passed to the 8th grade.
vicki.12 years ago
i am a professional writer and the first words that come to mind after reading this article are "what a crock." daydreaming a "personality disorder" that should be "curbed as soon as possible." luckily, all parents of gifted writers, filmmakers, artists, animators, etc. don't share this skewed view of the world. from daydreams come dreams, dreams fuel the imagination, imagination fuels innovation, innovation fuels the future... an eight year old girl who daydreams... normal, creative, artistic...
gop.12 years ago
i agree with vicki above-- what "global" article this is -such stuffy language that assumes a child has no individuality - ready to be trained for the real world...
Joe.12 years ago
i am an addicted day dreamer. i have not control over my ability to concentrate for any more than a few seconds at a time.
ham.12 years ago
i am daydreaming mostly in the school. help me out of this please
rani vyas
rani vyas.12 years ago
yes i often day dream but in my schooling time i concentrate on my studies as i m in 10standard,but i dream in bathroom in morning while,brushing,bathing`nt that funny.
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