Do you ever feel like you are going in a million directions, or that your schedule is so full you cannot fit in one more event? And if you are a parent, odds are that many of those events in your schedule tie back to one of your child’s activities.
Recent studies have shown that kids today are overscheduled with organized activities. There are piano lessons, soccer, dance, gymnastics, and the list goes on. Organized activities are not unstructured play. Unstructured play typically places less pressure on the child, provides different skills, and promotes learning social skills in a less stressful environment. This is key as children are subject to increased academic stresses in the classroom as so many schools must fight for funding based on their standardized tests. The impact of this is exacerbated in children with attention difficulties.
We are no longer giving our children time to just play. From 1981-1997, children’s playtime decreased by 25% and it continues to decrease today because of the pressures of schedules and academics. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics are now weighing in on the subject and state that “play is not frivolous” and research shows that play helps children develop crucial skills such as language, executive function, ability to negotiate, manage stress, and be able to pursue goals with ignoring distractions.