While parents may think of play time as simply something fun for their kids to do, or a way to get their children out of their hair for a bit, it turns out there is some real value in kids’ play time, and it seems a lot of parents aren’t aware of it.
A new report, “The State of Play In America” reveals just how essential “play” is to growing children. “Through play, children develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills they will use throughout life," says parenting journalist Dana Points. “Parents need to recognize how crucial play is – and how they can help their children learn, explore, create, and evolve through play."
The report suggests that parents spend too much time overscheduling their kids and often dismiss play time as “empty time,” even though it’s important in their child’s learning.
Things parents need to learn about play time include:
- There is no “right” way to play – Play time can be different for all kids and doesn’t necessarily need to be structured, with anyone else, or even with toys.
- Play is a strategy for learning – Structured programs for kids to learn a particular skill isn’t exactly play. Such pressure to make kids learn a skill can have negative effects on the emotional, social, and skill-based learning kids get through play.
- Recess isn’t empty time – Recess can actually help toward kids’ eventual learning, with studies showing that children, especially boys, become more attentive after enjoying recess.
- Play time is safe – Sure parents can worry about their kids getting injured during play time, but statistics show kids are safer than ever. Parents need to learn to give kids space and trust their judgment, which allows them to learn independence and confidence, which is a skill they’ll need later in life.
- Tech play can be a teaching tool, but parents need to have some control – It’s okay to let your kids play computer games, but parents should set limits, and should also set an example on how to use tech responsibly.
- Let kids lead play – Don’t try and force your kids into any particular type of play. It’s better to interact with them on their terms and just be present as they make the decisions on how they want to spend their play time.
Source: Yahoo Finance