As a parent myself, I would hate my two boys to become part of what experts are calling a 'Robot Generation', a term used to describe those children who might suffer from lasting health and well-being issues as they get older, due to not playing enough. Based on new research which has recently been undertaken, the damage to a child who is not allowed the time to play could result in a lack of such crucial skills.
A study carried out by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA)
and Play England
has revealed the long-term effects that a lack of playtime can have on children and the findings are shocking! They include poor social skills, obesity, a problem in making friends, inadequate social skills and not being able to cope very well with pressures they face in life.
These expert predictions were backed by parental research that demonstrated how 74% of the 2,000 who were surveyed, agreed that a lack of play could seriously effect a child's future. Indeed of those 2,000 parents questioned:
* 64% believe that a lack of play can have a negative effect on their children’s communication skills,
*57% believe a lack of play can have a negative effect on their ability to make friends,
*56% believe a lack of play can have a negative effect on their children’s confidence
*51% believe a lack of play can have a negative effect on their imagination and repress it.
These parents also worry about the effects once their children approach adolescence. Indeed:
*50% believe it could prevent them from making friends and forming relationships during their teens
*46% believe it could increase the chances of anti-social behaviour
*43% believe it could result in obesity
*36% believe it could lead to mental health problems and depression
Makes for quite scary reading doesn't it?
Many parents also felt that their children don't get enough time to play right now let alone in the years to come. They reported that if their children had not had playtime then their daily routines were affected, as 1 in 3 said that their kids would be "bouncing off the walls" with excess energy! Another 30% noted that a lack of play resulted in their children being irritable and difficult to put to bed and 27% said theirs argued much more.
I definitely see a difference in my son's behaviour if we have had a day when not much playing has taken part!! How about you!
The problem is due to the hectic lifestyles we lead nowadays, many parents do not feel they have the time they would like to have to play with their children. Indeed, work, feeling too tired and a busy schedule are blamed by parents as reasons why they are unable to make time to play. Not surprisingly when parents are able to play with their children, the top three activities are playing with games and toys, learning new skills or sports.
Cath Prisk from Play England says "Play affects long term development but is also the “here and now”; it is an innate human need which we need to protect for our children”.
I know from visiting blogs written by parents, that making time to play with our children is very important to us and we see it as a way to not only have fun but also to use as a method of teaching our children new skills - to learn through play. Also to play outside at the park or even in the garden allows children to just play in the fresh air which is just as beneficial to their well being and social skills.
However, help is needed in making time to play for many parents as 1 in 5 dads and almost 1 in 6 mums would like to improve their parenting skills when it came to knowing how to let their children play. With this being the case the BTHA and Play England have launched the campaign
to raise awareness of the importance of play in children’s lives. Also to demonstrate how a few simple steps each day can encourage time to play for children
The campaign is being backed by Celebrity Dad Jeff Brazier. You may have seen him over the last couple of weeks promoting the Make Time To Play concept on TV. As he says “Playtime for me and my kids is our time to spend together, and for me to be really focused on them - away from work and other distractions. It can be difficult when you're a busy parent with a career but I think it's really important for parents to set aside time to play with their kids, whether it’s a game of hide and seek or a kick about in the park – it’s great fun and a chance for them to be their most creative.”
Personally, I think this is a worthwhile campaign and worth promoting because play is such an important part of a child life and daily routine. Having read the statistics above, even more so then I realised before!
The campaign has a dedicated Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/maketimetoplay
where any parent who needs it, can receive help and get ideas for productive play. Also, they can win their child’s ideal play date aswell,as gather ideas for activities to do as a family.