More Time for Kids to Play            

Jul, 25, 2014

It’s not easy to be home with three kids abundant with energy. Sometimes, I admit, I feel overwhelmed with how I will entertain

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them for an entire afternoon. I have gotten advice that I need to book my kids into more after school extracurricular activities and that they would benefit from having an activity every day. I have to say I don’t like that idea at all because I think kids are kids for such a short time in life and that unscheduled play time is sadly overlooked these days. In today’s society, so many kids are so busy that they miss out on the free, unscheduled hours of play that make childhood such a wonderful time, and I don’t want to take that away from them.

I get that some kids love dancing, playing sports or music, and that their passion can consume lots of their time. However, I do feel that too many kids put in long days at school followed by lots of homework, then go on to practice or other activities . . . It feels as if it’s just go, go, go all the time. It makes me wonder how much stress this adds to the kids and their parents. According to a report published on the publication Pediatrics, a busier lifestyle, and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities come at the expense of free child-centered play.

The report also states that play is the most important thing a child can do. When it’s reduced, there are serious repercussions for the child’s development. “Play” plays an important role in healthy brain development, and it’s through play that children at a very early age engage and interact with others. Studies suggest that when kids don’t have enough playtime, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety increase.

The next time I think about my kids being bored and how I need to sign them up for extra activities, I will instead hand them a bucket of water, some dirt and some toys, and let their imaginations create some very beneficial play time. And, heck, I might even join them☺

Benefits of Free Play

Fredrika Syren

Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2016, she founded the website Green-Mom.com where she shared her family’s journey of living zero waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband James and their children Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary Zero Time to Waste. Fredrika is also the author of Zero Waste for Families - A Practical Guidebook (which you can buy on this site)

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