Then my daughter cried out:
What ever happened to ‘PLAY’?
It turns out that kids need UN-structured play time to learn self regulation.
FINALLY the experts have spoken!
PLAY is GOOD for you!
But too much structured play can lead to lack of self control in kids! That includes TV, video games, even too many extra-curricular lessons.
Letting kids use their imaginations in play frees them to ‘self-talk’, which allows them to think of different scenarios and learn to regulate their own behavior.
In the ‘old days’ (before television) kids spent more time improvising, exploring and being allowed ‘free space’ to pretend.
To quote Alex Spiegel from NPR News, “It turns out that all that time spent playing make-believe actually helped children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline.
In NPR’s story “Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills”, shares how the commercialization of child’s play by merchandisers wanting to sell toys — was a trend which began to shrink the size of children’s imaginative space. The second half of the 20th century introduced TV, which brought marketers, and suddenly play was centered on a thing, a toy, rather than using their imagination to create their inner world. As Howard Chudacoff, a cultural historian at Brown University said, “It’s interesting to me that when we talk about play today, the first thing that comes to mind are toys. “Whereas when I would think of play in the 19th century, I would think of activity rather than an object.”
The psychologist Dr. Dobson once say that TV captures the imagination, and won’t let it go.
Maybe it’s time to turn off the TV and go play outside! (Trouble is, too many weirdos are running loose out there that spent their childhoods watching TV!)
Oh Dear! What’s a mother to do!
Here’s the rest of the story:
and more about The Best Kind of Play for Kids: