For me PlayAbility™ has four components: Children, adults, toys and the play environment. Young children inherently ‘know’ how to play when given the time, materials, space and freedom to play. Dr Lawrence J Cohen said:
“The single most important skill that parents can acquire is playing.“
To facilitate that this year, along with PlayAbility™, I’ll be adding more PLAY-based learning activities parents, grandparents and/or caregivers can use with the kidlets. To help them become more confident in their own capabilities, when it comes to PLAY and creating PLAY environments, I post articles on the whys and how-tos.
Take stock of the amount of time your child plays—at home, both indoors and outside for an average day and compare that amount to some of these statistics:
- Number of minutes per week that parents spend in “meaningful conversation” with their children: 3.5
- Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,620
- Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
- Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children’s TV watching: 73
- Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54
- Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
- Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500
So, beginning January 1st add 1 minute of play time to your child’s day! On January 2nd add 2 minutes and so on until by the end of the year your kidlet will be gifted with an additional 365 minutes of play!
Are you concerned about how to fit it in? Realize the average toddler and/or preschooler is awake for 12 hours each day. That gives a total of 720 minutes for the day. Just paring down the amount of television viewing will give you a good chunk of time to work more play time in!
Did you know this generation is the FIRST generation that is NOT expected to live longer than their parents? Besides being just WRONG—what a tragedy?! And WHY is this happening? Mainly it’s because kids aren’t allowed to PLAY the way they used to. In a Washington Post article the author notes our children’s sedentary lifestyle has created a multitude of problems for them. The article also states children need at least 3 hours (180 minutes) of active free play per day to maintain health and wellness.
A New York Post article explained the critically serious nature of Internet addiction. Dopamine–the feel-good neurotransmitter involved in addictions–is released as a consequence of the user’s hyper-aroused state while playing/using electronic devices. The effect of electronic screens was likened to electronic cocaine or digital heroin. The author notes when it comes to Internet addiction: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
●Giving them time, freedom and space for creative imaginative play
●Giving them time, freedom and space to play–to develop their social skills so they can make friends and create friendships
●And giving them time and freedom to engage with Mother Nature!
So join me this year making PlayAbility™ a priority! You can take your first step in that by accepting the PLAY Challenge!
Yours in PLAY!