Play away! Guest blogger Felicity Cook from Family Chiropractic Centre Charlestown explains how important play is to children.
Her facial expression was one of pure delight! The room was filled with loud bouts of laughter and squeals of joy. Smiles spread across the faces of people who played with her as well as people who got to observe her play. The toy? A cardboard box. And the gorgeous Olivia loved it.
That day Olivia and her family stayed in our practice playing long after their appointment and it was much to the enjoyment of everyone who got to witness the fun she was having. Not to mention to the other kids who got to partake in the excitement of being pulled around in the box in Olivia’s game of trains or littler ones she engaged in peek-a-boo. It went without saying that little Olivia had the best fun that afternoon and talking to her mum Beth afterwards- she did too. This was the perfect reminder that only kids can bring: going back to basics and being in the moment can sometimes be the best fun!
As a parent you are often told that you should be doing this and of course you must be doing that. All the while you really need to be doing a whole lot of other things. This is why we sometimes need a reminder that play time is important. Both for us and for them. Time constraints, family responsibilities, technology and structured activities are just some of the reasons why kids might not have the play time they would like or need.
The 2012 Australian Children’s Play Summit highlights that all children want to play as much as possible everyday, but currently they feel that overall there is a lack of opportunity, time and appropriate space to allow them to freely do so. But the thing to remember is, it doesn’t have to be hard, time consuming or complicated. Olivia is the perfect example of this.
So take stock. When was the last time you had unstructured free flowing time with your kids? Has it been a while? If it has, then this week or next consider the following:
- Have some time with no strict rules or plans- play does not have to be structured.
- Take it outside. Go to a field, park or beach that you haven’t been to before (Newy with Kids has some great ideas).
- Change the routine. Switch off technology for a few minutes, an hour or even the day.
- Get creative with paper, cardboard or imaginative story telling.
- Most importantly, be in the moment, even if it is just for 15 minutes.