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The We Turned Out Okay Podcast

What kind of hijinks did you get up to as a kid? Did you climb trees? Did you run around outside barefoot? Did you eat raw cookie dough? Maybe you wanted to do these and other crazy things, but you weren't allowed… Let me ask you this: what if your children wanted to? Would you let them? If you hesitate there, well, you're in the right place. The We Turned Out Okay podcast is where we learn the hows and whys of hovering less and enjoying our young children more. You get to learn from host Karen Lock Kolp's mistakes, but especially from the successes of her guests. Each helpful, lively conversation illustrates why this show really is "The Modern Guide to Old-School Parenting."
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Oct 29, 2015

Podcast Episode 034: Why Do Kids Need to Play? A Your Child Explained Episode

This past Tuesday, I had a great conversation with mom and licensed mental health counselor Janine Halloran of encourageplay.com. Janine specializes in facilitating play, and our conversation ranged from the benefits of play and how little is really required to encourage it, to how endangered open-ended play is in our society.

Today, I want to extend on that conversation, and look at what's really going on inside a child's head during play, why it's so important, and how we can bring more of it into our crazy-busy lives.

First off, kids process things completely differently from adults – and play is what helps them process the events going on around them. Play helps kids understand and make sense of their world, and it's up to us to remember that both to foster learning and to make our lives run more smoothly.

Secondly, if you want to grab a kid's attention, start a game! Games help kids clean up, remember routines, and just add some fun into an otherwise humdrum task.

Thirdly, kids learn with their whole bodies, and need all different kinds of play – alone and with others, indoors and out, self-directed and open-ended.

Finally, play helps kids learn to navigate their world and negotiate and resolve conflicts (nonviolently). Studies are showing that kids aren't learning the kind of negotiation skills that we need to get along in this world, and I share about a study done a few years ago showing just how little playtime kindergarten children get in school. Called The Crisis In The Kindergarten, I hope you'll read this paper, learn about the study, and work extra hard to get your child more playtime. It's truly our hope for the future.

I'd like to leave you with a question: how are you getting your child the kind of open-ended play time that every kid needs? Drop me a line and let me know, whether over at the contact page on weturnedoutokay.com or on instagram @weturnedoutokay.

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