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Why Parents Should Let Their Kids Have More Play Time

kid blowing bubbles.

Nothing comes more natural to kids as play. Right from infancy, and after a month of little more than eating and sleeping, a child begins to engage everyone and everything around her in play. Even where it seems there’s no one or thing around to play with, an older kid can engage his imagination and invent his own characters and stories. When should a parent begin to cut back on their playtime? Or should they ever have to?

Play and childhood are so intertwined that we see it in children no matter the condition or situation they are in. It is so basic to their healthy growth that the United Nations recognizes play as a fundamental human right, on the same level as the rights to shelter and education. It is a position that has been backed by science as being vital to setting the foundations for social, emotional and academic learning in children.

But the trend today is for parents to try to cut back on their children’s playtime. Over the past century, play has become something of an endangered among kids worldwide. When kids are allowed to play, it’s more likely to be highly structured.

However, behavioural scientists say these changes are having lasting and negative impacts on children. In fact, there are new scientific evidence linking the decline in free, unscheduled playtime among kids to dire health and social issues facing society today, particularly among young adults, such as obesity, depression, anxiety and increased suicide rate.

While it on the surface it may seem mean on the part of parents and teachers who cut back on children’s playtime, in truth the trigger is the increasingly competitive reality of modern living. As such, some parents and teachers think kids have little time to be kids and that children will rather gain and thrive more from another lesson or test-prep class.

But scientists say you may be taking an unhealthy, unnatural and counter-learning approach if you have such kind of mindset. Parents who know have learnt the art of balancing play and work in the right proportion for their kids. They seize every opportunity they get for adventure and fun activities for the little ones, especially during the summer holiday such as camping out, growing a garden, visiting the zoo or splashing on some excitement at favorite destinations like www.aquarama.no/sommerferie.

Play shouldn’t a parent’s choice for children; it is something the little ones need to do to stay mentally and physically smart and healthy. It helps to exercise their mind and enhance their creativity and social learning.

Through play, children learn the values of social groups and working together. They develop new social, cognitive and literacy skills, as well as physical abilities.

Play also helps children grown strong and healthy; and fight off obesity which is a plague of childhood in the Western world. Through play, kids are able to grown emotionally, and gain outlet for anxiety and stress.

More importantly, play and learning go hand in hand. Children learn more when play or some playful activities are infused into the lesson. Play is a child’s lab. With play, they are able to practice and reinforce their learning in a variety of ways; in a way that cannot be achieved through the completing a worksheet.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.

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