I agree with your comments, Lauren, and I can understand the findings from this study about parents choosing more structured activities for their kids. As a parent, I feel pressure to put my kids in structured activities so they "get ahead". I feel like this has been emphasized more with social media...you scroll down the newsfeed and see all these posts about children winning this sports competition, doing this amazing thing, that amazing thing and it can really challenge your thinking as a parent. We need to get the pendulum to swing the other direction...not focused on the prize or end result, but on the process, learning and growth of children.
In my opinion all play is purposeful. My concern is that children don't have enough exposure to play that helps them grow relational, imaginative, and critical thinking skills. Many parents that I have the pleasure of meeting with question why it is important that they spend some time engaged with their children in play. It's understandable that this was not always the expectation when we were growing up. But times have changed and media interactions are replacing face-to-face human interactions that we all need. Imaginative play and board games have many benefits for developing brains; intercommunication skills and the social interactions that children and adults alike need for healthy development. Outside free play is as important to growing bodies and minds. This seems to be something that parents and children are interested in. Now all we need are safe places for children to play outside that are not limited to competitive activities.
HARTFORD FOUNDATION’S EARLY CHILDHOOD COLLABORATIVE
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