Tag Archives: free time

Scheduling Time For Unscheduled Play

“When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit. It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.” ~Fred Rogers.

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” Kay Redfield Jamison (professor of psychiatry)

Sand Area and Play Kitchen
Children enjoy the combination of the play kitchen with the sand area

Life is busy. There are endless deadlines, obligations, appointments, work, school, and social commitments. Packing the kids up from one place, rushing to another, finding time to eat, getting the kids ready for bed, waking up in the morning and doing it all over again. This is normal. Especially if you have more than one child. Managing busy schedules can be very challenging for parents, but even more so for children. Children are strong and resilient, but have a need for down time. Not the kind that they get in the car, either. In fact, sometimes you have to just schedule time for doing nothing.

In fact, if you want to see the relationship with your child truly blossom, just sit with them. We don’t have to always read a book, or be doing something. Sometimes, just sitting and staring at the clouds can be a bonding experience. Just sit and let them play in the sandbox. Kick a ball back and forth. It is the simplest act for a child to play, but as an adult, it can be difficult sometimes. The decision to consciously and intentionally NOT impose our own ideas of what we should do, and allowing young children the freedom to decide what to do, can be the most beneficial decision we make as parents, educators, and caregivers . This is the heart of child centered, play-based education. The spontaneous and self-determined play that a young child engages in, is probably the most important time they spend. Free time promotes resilience, creativity, and problem solving skills. So, schedule time for unscheduled play time. Your kids will thrive, and you will see a positive difference in them.

Listen to what Temple University psychologist Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and others have to say here

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