Our lives have changed a lot from the time I was a kid…all the neighborhood kids used to get together and play for a couple of hours on the street every evening. Once we got back we had to catch up with homework and study, but that play time was exhilarating!
I realized the true impact of our rush to prepare our kids to be geniuses or at least ‘better than the rest’ when a mom asked me what if her child got addicted to playtime in the park? The child in question was five years old…I reassured her that it was the best thing her child could do at that age.
When we see children at play the visual components are the most obvious—we see children enjoying themselves. Play does more than foster our emotional need. That mother’s question arose because she wasn’t aware of the impact of play in all areas of development—social, emotional, coordination, attention, and cognitive. This is where children learn to give and take, deal with success and failure, and understand being a team player working towards a common goal. Being physically active is known to improve attention and problem solving skills.
Children have to sit and attend for a considerable stretch of time on a typical school day. Attention is an active state. It is no surprise that they’d want to engage in activities which give them a respite from all that. Watching TV is a passive exercise. Instead, an hour or so on the playground helps them get ready for homework and review work.
If you want your children to be productive after school, give them time to explore and play. Even if you send them to tutoring or coaching classes or any other class, make sure they have time to run, and jump or climb. That too is research based…
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Here’s a good site to educate yourself on the benefits of play: