America Ranks Lowest On This Necessary Childhood Function – And It’s Damaging Our Kids!

Photo by Virginia State Parks on Flickr.com

 

The introduction of the digital age has given children and parents endless resources and entertainment at their fingertips.

However, all things in moderation. Kids have increasing interests online and with manufactured toys it leaves this dire need on the sidelines of life.

If we don’t realize what this nation is doing to our children, and quick, there could be generational repercussions that will be hard to reverse.

We hear stories from our grandparents about spending their afternoons after school on a farm, or volunteering at the local kids club.

Even growing up ourselves riding bikes for hours throughout the neighborhood, or engaging in an epic battle until the end with our wooden swords made of branches demonstrates the drastic shift in how kids spend their free time.

I am still bewildered why I think my daughter needs the entire collection of wood creatures when there is so much to do without the added mess on her bedroom floor.

The art of giving children free time to play outside where their imaginations can grow, they get the exercise they need, and important social skills are developed is nearly dead – especially in America!

According to Psychology Today, children spend about 32.5 hours a week in school for at least 180 days a year.

The issue is not the amount of time in schools, but rather the tools for learning that are being used in schools.

Sadly, the United States has nearly the lowest amount of play time allowed for children 6-13 in the world, a 2011 study in Creative Research Journal found.

And this has only been decreasing in recent years despite parents, principles, and teachers agreeing that it would be beneficial for children to get more time to play outdoors.

Cara DiYanni, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at Rider University, conducted a recent study where she asked parents of K-3rd graders if they believed play should be part of their children’s typical day at school and 100% of them answered “yes”.

The same study showed that most parents felt teachers shouldn’t be involved in how the kids played during their allotted time, where they gave an averaged rating of 2.54 with 1=not involved and 6=very involved.

Teachers score on the topic barely differed from parents opinions.

As Mommy Underground has previously reported, children never learn to use their imaginations, creativity, or learn to make decisions on their own when they are being ushered from one structured activity to the next.

Kids who need everything handed to them and every action dictated aren’t going to grow up to be productive, forward-thinkers who know how to make goals and accomplish them.

Unbridled play helps children to gain academic benefits they can’t get from a chalkboard.

Dr. DiYanni found teachers think literacy skills, science skills, mathematical skills, ad creativity are all enhanced when children have free play.

With 40% of a child’s waking hours being spent in school most days of the week, ensuring children are getting adequate free play inside and outside is pertinent to raising a healthy young adult.

The public school system cannot be trusted to provide all the necessary educational avenues for our children.

Contact your local school board to find out how many hours (or minutes!) your child is getting to play during an academic day.

And then don’t let the day end there.

Yes, you and your children are tired when coming home from school, but sending them outside to play tag with the neighborhood kids, dig in the yard for worms, or ride their bike a safe distance and back can be just as important as any other evening task, with twice the benefit.

As the saying goes, “let kids be kids” and send them to go play!

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