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Are you worried whether your child is getting as much playtime as you did when you were younger? Are you wondering if the way your child plays is normal for its age?
If you’re contemplating cutting back on your child’s free playtime indoors or outside because of your concerns about safety or because of scheduling purposes, think again. As an adult, it might not look like it’s a top priority that your child is finding time for playtime.
But it’s actually an important time of the day for them — it helps them develop and learn.
And if you’re worried because your child seems to play near other kids but not necessarily with them, don’t fret. That’s a total normal stage of development.
Keep reading to learn why play is important, how it can benefit your child, the different types of play your child needs, and more information that will help you ensure your child gets all the play time they need.
Learn more about the benefits and importance of play time for kids at Mom Loves Best
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
Kids’ lives are overscheduled now more than ever before and all those activities are taking a bite out of their free playtime. Even for young kids, parents schedule structured activities, like sports and lessons meant to give their child an early leg up when it comes to the competition they’ll face later as they reach school age.
And once kids reach school, they’ll have even less free time. Kids are expected to learn more and at a faster rate than even before. Additional requirements from schools to increase their aptitude test scores can sometimes result in less recess time so they can shoehorn in more instructional time.
In some school districts, students have to travel more than an hour each way every day just to ride the bus to school (source). That takes away two hours students can use for playtime five days a week.
Extracurriculars, like sports and various clubs, are more competitive than ever before and require extra practice if those students want to achieve at high levels. After-school programs have been implemented at many schools to help latch-key children and those who are struggling with their homework.
Some research has even shown that children are spending as little as 4 hours a week playing outdoors as a result of technology and an increased school workload burden (source).