The Short of It
A new survey finds most parents wish their children had more time to just play.
According to a new Minnesota Children's Museum survey of 1,000 parents and caregivers, three-quarters of parents wish their kids had more playtime.
The survey, called Play Under Pressure, found 87 percent of parents and caregivers agree that playing helps kids develop skills and succeed in school, reports Bring Me the News.
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So why don't many kids get as much playtime as their parents would like? Hectic family schedules were the biggest playtime killer, the survey found. Other reasons kids' playtimes might be limited included not having other kids around to play with, and sadly, parents' concerns over the safety of being outdoors.
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Unfortunately, the situation certainly doesn't get any better when kids grow up. In fact, preteens and teenagers report having even less free time as their extracurricular activities get more intense and they prepare to apply to increasingly competitive colleges.
According to the museum, setting aside a specific time and place is the key. In other words, try scheduling in time for your kids to just be kids, just as we schedule every other aspect of our lives.
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But I would argue that not overscheduling your kids in the first place is the best way to make sure they get adequate playtime. Each of my children is allowed to participate in one extracurricular activity. So one day per week after school, we'll schlep to their chosen activity—not every single day. Most days they come home and have free time until dinner, and then after homework, they get more time ... to just be—and play—like kids should.
I figure they have the rest of their lives to be overscheduled!
Do you wish your kids had more time to just play?