Why You Should Embrace Unstructured Play for Kids
In today's fast paced society, children are also under so many tremendous time constraints that it becomes challenging for them to even be a kid. Kids have their usual homework studies after school but due to the demanding schedules for participating in cheerleading, gymnastics, baseball, tennis, football, lacrosse, ice hockey, etc children don't have the time to do anything else. Everything becomes so structured that the kid doesn't learn how to use his imagination and create his own games.
A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics emphasized the importance of play in the development of a healthy, well-balanced child. The report said that kids who can play in an unstructured manner tend to be more resilient and become better problem solvers.
When I was a child, I remember coming home from school and I couldn't wait to get outside to play with my friends. That meant if it was football season we played football. Baseball season in the spring, and basketball and tennis in the summer. We learned how to organize teams to make it fair so the games wouldn't be lopsided. We learned how to pick captains.
We learned strategy by trial and error. It didn't matter what sport we played, we figured out all of the obstacles, who brought the balls, the bats. We learned how to be fair and how to get along.
Sure, occasionally there would be confrontations and fights but we learned how to deal with the adversity and get over it and move on. We didn't have adult supervision and yet somehow we learned how to perfect our skills from each other and we learned how to help each other.
It is so important to give your child the same opportunity to just go outside and play. Empower your child to think for himself and play whatever it is he wants to play. No league, no referees and most importantly no adults.
Dr Fitness Says: Don't micromanage your kids playtime. Let your kids be kids and play games by their rules.
The Fat Guy Says: Someone has to be picked last and I usually was that someone.