Growing bookworms – The importance of day dreaming

When I was a little girl, I loved to day dream. I was one of those kids the teacher is always calling back from dream world. The recall to reality was always a little negative in my recollection. “Stop daydreaming, and concentrate on your maths/history/geography – fill in the blank.”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised the benefits of day dreaming and mental downtime. When my children were younger, I used to use the driving time into the office every day to day dream. It was a time for me to let my mind wander and relax. I discovered that poems would often pop into my head, more or less fully formed during this time. The inspiration would be something I saw on the way to work. For example, my poem “The Beggar’s Child” was inspired by a mother and baby I used to see standing on the curb everyday. I looked at that little boy, strapped to his mother’s back in the traditional African way, and wondered what he thought of the cars driving past and the indifference of the drivers to his plight.

About a year before the first lockdown, I started listening to audiobooks in the car, instead of day dreaming. I quickly discovered that my poetic output dropped dramatically with my new routine. That led to my having to make a choice between using my time in the car to listen to classic books or to day dream and produce poetry. I chose audio books.

The idea that the lack of day dreaming time was limiting my creativity stayed with me and I was most interested to learn that that day dreaming is considered to be good for children. Yes, you read correctly, day dreaming is beneficial for children and for adults.

Day dreams teach children to be calm and peaceful and to develop empathy and better emotional learning for consolidation of their learning experiences.

248,584 Day Dreaming Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

According to many psychologists, zoning out in your own internal world is good and helps you to plan for the future, generate ideas, regulate emotion, and spur creativity.

I have always felt that day dreaming, which I’ve always termed watching the clouds, is an essential part of the inventive process. The mind must wander and explore in order to be able to make the great leaps of logic and imagination required to invent something completely new. It pleases me greatly that recent research supports my view that day dreaming is an essential part of mental processing, reasoning, and learning.

These are some of the identified benefits of day dreaming:

  • Enhanced critical thinking and intelligence – One of the main regions of the brain utilised when we day dream is the region associated with complex problem solving. Critical thinking capabilities are essential for successful learning;
  • Motivation or achievement of ‘dreams’ – Living our dreams through day dreaming is an enabler of achieving our personal goals and objectives.
  • Increased confidence – Imagining ourselves playing different roles in life and achieving certain objectives, like passing examinations, gives us more confidence when the real situation presents itself.
  • Increased insight – The light bulb moments we have are often a result of our processing and organising information differently during day dreaming sessions.
  • Increased ability to cope – Imagining ourselves in a different situation when our real one is emotionally draining or difficult, gives us an increased mental ability to cope with our reality.
  • Better mental agility – Day dreaming enables us to smoothly shift mental gears in the face of unexpected situations or unanticipated events.
  • Increased creativity – Day dreaming provides for increased creativity as our mind finds ways of entertaining us free from outside stimulation.
  • Increased concentration – Mental downtime gives our brains time to process information and enables it to develop and concentrate better during periods of focus.

I must admit, that I have always innately know the above and I encouraged my children to day dream. Sadly, most kids fill all their free time with visual media like television and computers and I wonder what that will mean for innovation and progression in the future.

The defining skill of 2021: Mental agility | Training Journal
Picture credit: https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/opinion/defining-skill-2021-mental-agility

About Robbie Cheadle

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Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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67 Comments on “Growing bookworms – The importance of day dreaming”

  1. I’ve always like the term “woolgathering” for daydreaming because after wondering around plucking random bits of wool from the bushes, I have a nice, big handful of it to make something with.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree daydreaming is such a beneficial tool for people of all ages. It’s like mental jogging, eh?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:

    My Growing Bookworms post this month discusses the benefits of day dreaming for children [and for adults too]. Thank you to Kaye Lynne Booth for hosting me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. petespringerauthor says:

    I do my best daydreaming when I’m taking a walk. I think about plots, characters, problems, solutions, etc. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas when I’m walking. It’s funny how my mind seems freed up then.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Pete, I used to day dream when I walked too. However, having walked round and round my garden [which is quite large] 5 or 6 times a day for over 20 months, the novelty has worn off and I’ve been listening to audio books while I walk. The trade off is that I no longer have this time for day dreaming. I shall have to decide which is more important to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I am with you all the way Robbie and I do my daydreaming when exercising or even chopping Veg for lunch.. my stories are created in my head first before sitting down to write them.. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Toni Pike says:

    A great article, Robbie. I was an incessant daydreamer – especially when sitting in class, I’m afraid. I’m glad there were so many benefits! Toni x

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Staci Troilo says:

    I love that researchers have discovered so many benefits to daydreaming. And I’m also troubled by your last thought. Hopefully, kids don’t get lost in screens and continue to make time for other valuable activities (physical, mental, and emotional). Thanks, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jim Borden says:

    thanks for giving me a legitimate reason to daydream!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. memadtwo says:

    I’m glad now that my mother opened the door and sent us out to play. We were never allowed to stay in and watch TV. Sadly, now, children take their phones with them wherever they go. So glad mine grew up before that as well. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Darlene says:

    I was another one of those day dreamers and often chastised for it. I still do of course and often while I’m walking my dogs. So many things I day dreamed about when was younger, came to be! I firmly believe it is very good for you. I’m sure all inventors day dreamed.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. beetleypete says:

    I was very pleased to read that it is okay to daydream. I seem to have spent half of my life doing exactly that. 🙂
    (Shared both posts on Twitter, Robbie.)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. On a related topic, studies are showing that the horrid commute to/from work, where adults prepare for their day and decompress from its events, is going away with remote work. And with it, those important ‘daydream’-related events. I hope everyone reads this post.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Jacqui, working from home has lots of down sides. You never break free from work as there is no arriving and leaving the office and actually switching work off. As you mentioned, there is also no staring out the train window or watching the people on the street at red robots.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I spent my whole life daydreaming, but like you, I did it in a compartment away from reality. Served me well for sure.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Teri Polen says:

    Great post, Robbie. I totally believe in the benefits of daydreaming, both for kids and adults. I get some of my best ideas when I’m zoning out. It gives my brain a rest!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. marianbeaman says:

    I think daydreaming is absolutely essential for creativity. Mind muscles relax when we walk, sit, or just stare into space. :-O

    Liked by 2 people

  16. olganm says:

    Thanks, Robbie, for the reminder. Nowadays, we seem to be very focused on squeezing every last second we have and being “effective”, but you have a point. We tend to forget that some of the things in life that might not be seen as “useful” or “productive” are very important to keep our creativity alive. I find that going for walks or engaging in mechanical tasks that don’t require a lot of thought might help my mind wander. I do some meditation (mindfulness) as well, and although that is a bit different, I find it helpful. Stay well and keep dreaming.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. dgkaye says:

    Excellent article Robbie. I agree, daydreaming is important time not wasted, and sadly, the digital world is overpowering so many of the childhood activities our generation enjoyed, mostly in the fresh outdoors. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Debby, you are correct that technology has taken over and there are reasons for that including safety issues with so much traffic and increased crime. The boys now play their games [which are mind bogglingly complex] in the ‘cloud’ with their friends so it is very social. I suppose we must accept that times change. I do think down time and day dreaming are very necessary thought, probably more necessary in a technological age.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. What a wonderful post, Robbie. Who woulda thunk? The activity that used to get us into trouble at school was actually good for us. I can definitely see the correlations between daydreaming and creativity. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I spent a lot of time in trouble for day dreaming at school, Diana. I have always written poems and descriptions in my head. I suppose teachers must try to get kids to focus and learn, that is their objective and day dreaming doesn’t fit in with that. It is a place and time thing, isn’t it? I look at my older son’s accelerated learning programme and advanced English syllabus and think how much I would have benefited from such things. I would have day dreamed much less.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. CarolCooks2 says:

    A lovely post, Robbie..when I walk I take nothing with me except water… it’s my alone time to walk and I suppose daydream but its where I definitely clear my mind and think/daydream 🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Carol, that is when we do our best thinking. I never have down time any more. I try to do this at night before I go to sleep but I am to tired and so it never happens. I have a whole month of holiday ahead. Woohoo!

      Liked by 2 people

      • CarolCooks2 says:

        I was the same when I was working and had a family growing up although I did mostly do an early morning run then with the dog which was my time any other time was never my time or hardly ever unless I was studying and then I shut the door on everyone…Your time will come, Robbie 🙂 x

        Liked by 2 people

  20. That sounds like a good idea, really. Thanks Robbie! xx Michael

    Liked by 2 people


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