The Importance of Play

Society is beginning to notice how over-scheduled children are these days. Stories of elementary-age children being shuttled from activity to activity have made their way into the occasional news cycle or magazine article. If you are a parent, you probably identify with this as your reality and may have even considered writing “chauffeur” as your occupation on some government form. High school students are trying to pack their resumes full of extra-curricular activities for college applications. There is a sense that in this ultra-competitive new world, we have to make sure our children try and excel at everything. This attitude has trickled down into the early years and now preschool, toddler and even infant teachers are feeling pressured to “teach” these very young children to ensure that they are “prepared” for kindergarten and the rest of their school careers. What we often forget is that children learn a lot through play. Young children especially need unstructured play time to develop in a healthy way. Through child-centered play time children learn all sorts of skills from social interactions to problem solving and even important academic concepts like math, science and language skills. I recently read a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics talking about the importance of play for children in an effort to encourage pediatricians to pass along this information to parents. You can see this report at this link: AAP Play Report

One Response

  1. Free play is NOT a waste of time! It allows kids to be kids and to develop important traits that can not be scheduled as an extracurricular activity – optimism, resilience, self confidence. Kids’ schedules are becoming packed tight so as to keep up with the Jones’ on the path to an ivy league scool, but I propose we as parents emulate passion, drive, and a love for life that no college would turn down. A child that has drive and passion for a desired goal, would not be told that they could not do something that they wanted. Ask Jackie Robinson, Jim Abbott, Barack Obama, and any other trailblazer that were told they could not!

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