Kids are over-scheduled and doctors have to prescribe play time

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Kids are over-scheduled and doctors have to prescribe play timeMany parents take education and additional lessons and sport way too seriously. So, seriously, that kids don’t even have time to play. And that’s a problem.

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says kids are too over-scheduled these days. This means that they can’t really relax.

“At a time when early childhood programs are pressured to add more didactic components and less playful learning, pediatricians can play an important role in emphasizing the role of a balanced curriculum that includes the importance of playful learning for the promotion of healthy child development,” write the authors, led by Michael Yogman, chairman of the AAP committee on psychosocial aspects of child family health, Quartz reports.

Many parents feel their kids are wasting their time when they are playing. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The AAP says there are four types of play which are very important

The Object play is one of them. Kids learn a lot by using object like a phone, toys, even fruit. This allows kids to learn more about objects, their motor skills and more.

Then there’s the Outdoor play. It allows kids to discover the world. In fact, research shows that countries where kids have more outdoor play, have better academic success. Outdoor play also helps kids learn to communicate.

That’s the third play – social and pretend. It helps creative skills, and social skills. Finally, the Physical play which is the pat-a-cake, pillow fights, sports, etc. “Rough-and-tumble play, which is akin to the play seen in animals, enables children to take risks in a relatively safe environment, which fosters the acquisition of skills needed for communication, negotiation, and emotional balance and encourages the development of emotional intelligence,” the authors write.

Since, the AAP knows, that parents won’t follow the advice to let kids play more and give them more free time, it now relies on doctors. “Parental guilt has led to competition over who can schedule more ‘enrichment opportunities’ for their children,” they write. “As a result, there is little time left in the day for children’s free play, for parental reading to children, or for family meal times.”

The AAP recommends that preschools and doctors now encourage more play time. “It also suggests that doctors not only encourage parents to protect children’s unstructured playtime, but have parents let their children take the lead—for example, if a child is doing a puzzle, it’s okay to suggest a piece of a puzzle that might fit, but not do the puzzle yourself”, Quartz adds.

Would this help? Probably not, but hopefully it will. Kids already are playing less and less. And that’s very bad.