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.