In the current day and age, we want our kids to stay indoors and play on smartphones/electronic gadgets. Our over-concerned behaviour towards children is turning us into controlling parents. This behaviour not only affects the child’s growth and development, but also creates an unhealthy environment at home.
- Free & Unstructured Play: Free and unstructured play in the outdoors boosts problem-solving skills, focus and discipline. Socially, it improves cooperation, flexibility, and self-awareness. Emotional benefits include reduced aggression and increased happiness. It is also a proven fact that children who play outdoors are smarter, get along with others easily and are healthier and happier. It is also very important that the play is not set up according to an adult agenda.
2. Open Spaces help kids discover interests: The play spaces could be a forest or open spaces, not designated ones. In such an environment, children set their own challenges, make their own assessment, take risks, take responsibility of their actions, have their own adventures and learn from them. This sort of play also allows children to discover their interests, work towards it and develop an identity of their own. It is this aspect of play that offers enormous psychological benefits, helping to protect children from anxiety and depression. Children who grow up without taking risks or making decisions for themselves or cannot control their emotions/actions end up believing they are dependent on others.
3. They are happier & physically active: Most importantly, playing makes children happier. Therefore, if we are unable to provide them that opportunity, we are not only robbing them of their happiness, but also are replacing it with mentally stressful activities.
As parents today have compelling needs for childcare, academic and athletic success, and children’s safety, they should perhaps identify small changes – such as creating free time for kids, relieve children from too many supervised activities and possibly, not following their every move at the playground or park. This will result in a free and imaginative play for the kids and make them physically and emotionally happy human beings.
We need to remember that “What they learn on their own, can’t be taught.”
(Edvantage Point is India’s go-to platform for related products and services. We are into admissions management for schools, career advice and counselling services for students as well as recruitment services).