Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Experts: Lack of playtime is hurting children - Kids and parenting- msnbc.com

Experts: Lack of playtime is hurting children - Kids and parenting- msnbc.com:

Without ample opportunity for forms of play that foster innovation and creative thinking, she argues, America’s children will be at a disadvantage in the global economy.

“Play equals learning,” she said. “For too long we have divorced the two.”

Some of the factors behind diminished play time have been evolving for decades, others are more recent. Added together, they have resulted in eight to 12 fewer hours of free play time per week for the average American child since the 1980s, experts say.

Among the key factors, according to Thompson:
  • Parents’ reluctance to let their kids play outside on their own, for fear of abduction or injury, and the companion trend of scheduling lessons, supervised sports and other structured activities that consume a large chunk of a child’s non-school hours.
  • More hours per week spent by kids watching TV, playing video games, using the Internet, communicating on cell phones.
  • Shortening or eliminating recess at many schools — a trend so pronounced that the National PTA has launched a “Rescuing Recess” campaign.
  • More emphasis on formal learning in preschool, more homework for elementary school students and more pressure from parents on young children to quickly acquire academic skills.

    4 comments:

    tft said...

    I agree that the lack of play is a problem. Isolated kids, home with their thug big brothers, is a recipe for disruption in the classroom.

    Rory gets this one right!

    Brett said...

    This is a masked agenda. Certainly kids need play time - but the message here is grounded in developmentally appropriate practice, saying that play is learning and that formal learning at the early grades (such as DI) is harmful to kids.

    Let them play outside of class - but let them learn during school hours.

    Careen said...

    My MIL runs a Daycare. Up until 3 months ago, our kids went there while hubby and I were working. I have now given up my job to take care of the kids.

    Almost immediately, after becoming a SAHM, the following occured: 1). The kid's imaginations began flourishing, as noted through the imaginary stories they created between themselves and their toys. 2). The children went to bed on time instead of fighting it. 3). The kid's attitudes changed - for the better.

    What have we attributed much of this change to? Significant reduction in the amount of time they are allowed to watch t.v. (and what they are allowed to watch) and significant increase in adult led activities as well as playtime both inside the house and out.

    We are much like other parents in that we are concerned about abductions etc. should the children play outside. In an effort to still allow the children to "stretch" and use their constant flow of energy, we have compromised by making our home such that they can run in many sections of the house without hurting themselves or running into/breaking things.

    This is especially helpful when the smog alerts go into affect in the summertime, and it is not healthy to be outside breathing, or when the weather is very poor outside in the winter.

    In addition, we know where the closest McDonald Indoor Play Places are ;-)

    Parentalcation said...

    Careen,

    I have to admit that I am pretty spoiled when it comes to the kids...

    Now we live in Alaska, our kids go out in all sorts of weather.

    It also helps I live on base housing, so my kids have free range of the neighborhood, and I don't have to worry about safety... except for moose.