There is a lot flying round the social media at the moment about play.
The importance of play.
Children being able to play outside. Or my favourite:
‘You know you were a child of the 70’s/ 80’s when…’
Granted things have moved on, and there are greater dangers now than what there were when we grew up. But it is truly sad that children can’t just go and play outside with their friends all day, only appearing when the rumbles of their stomach became too loud or when the light was truly faded. (To be fair, I grew up in South Africa, and in summer sunset was at 6pm, not 10pm like that of the UK!)
But children need that play, that freedom to just be. Play develops a variety of skills from motor skills, curiosity and imagination, to social skills, communication skills and a greater awareness of ones ability.
Living in one of the biggest cities in the world, and in an apartment, means that it is very easy to allow free play to disappear from my children’s lives.
Music lessons, and practice, Scouts, after school activities can all clog up a child’s life. As can electronic entertainment.
I’m all for electronic entertainment, and there are some wonderful apps and games available, but I’ve noticed my children’s behaviour changes when they spend too long in front of a screen. So I’ve put limits in place.
I’m still trying to decide about the apps that allow more parental control, but my girls are good with regards to time spent on ‘Screen Time’ and switching off if anything inappropriate comes up.
My son, is a different story. He likes the iPad. He is almost addicted to it. I’ve come through some mornings and he’s already playing and I’ve no idea how long he’s been up for, only that it is clearly a while judging by his behaviour!
At a friends suggestion, we changed all the passwords so the children don’t know them. The girls find it incredibly frustrating, but we have stuck to our guns. It seems to be working. They are spending less time ‘on screen’ and more time playing.
Which is how I like it.
I love hearing the language, seeing the activities and seeing their friendship with each other grow. It makes the fights to get them away from the screen all worth while.