Children's Museum in Oak Lawn, Staff
5 Reasons to Make Time for Play Over Winter Break
This is one of the busiest times of the year for children (and parents too)! When school is in session, the hours afterwards are often spent completing homework or attending extracurricular activities. As a result, children are more likely to become stressed as well.
It is common for parents to make time and place an importance on their child’s success in school and participation in clubs/sports. However, do you set a specific time in your family routine (especially during the holidays) for your child to play? If not, here are just a few reasons you need to start:
1) Help Your Child Develop Their Personality
It is great for your child to know that they should try their best at school. However, there is more than good grades to raising happy children that become successful, independent adults.
When a child is given the time for free play, it allows them to develop their own personality. At first, they practice decision-making by choosing what they want to do. Also, depending on the activity, there are many different skills they can develop or build upon such as their creative or logic skills.
2) Manage Your Child’s (and Your) Stress
How do you feel as an adult when there is no time to sit down and relax after a hectic day? Kids should have time to enjoy being kids, rather than just focusing on rushing from store to store for last minute shopping or from house to house for holiday gatherings. An overscheduled life for kids can lead to future emotional problems including depression and anxiety.
Too many activities can be simply overwhelming. The truth is that as a parent, you need to manage your stress and take time out for some fun too!
3) Focus on Your Child’s Physical Health
When school is out for winter break, children may replace sitting down at their desks with sitting around on the couch. One of the times that children are supposed to have time to for play during school – recess – is disappearing in the U.S as early as kindergarten.
As a result, it is up to parents or caregivers to make sure children live an active lifestyle when they are home. Adults should be aware of and limit how much time their children are spending on electronics whether watching T.V. or using a phone/tablet. When the weather is nice, plan to go to the park or encourage your child to play in the backyard. In the winter or when it rains, look for places to go that they can walk around or burn off some of their energy (like a children's museum-hint, hint).
4) Effectively Educate Your Child After School
As a parent, there are many things you want to teach your child they won’t learn at school or will further what they learned at school. Although learning is important, it doesn’t always sound “fun” to children (especially when they spent a whole week learning at school). How can you teach your child in a way that will get them to positively respond?
It is often easier (and more fun) to learn when you aren’t focusing on committing it to memory. If your child is playing, there are many opportunities to engage with them in an educational way. Also, children may even present the opportunity for a parent to educate by asking questions.
5) Make Time to Bond with Your Child
There are times when being a parent can be overwhelming and you’ll want to take a break. However, your kids will not be young forever. As everyone gets older, it gets hard to work around everyone’s schedules to be able to see each other.
Therefore, take advantage of the time while your child is young and the time in their day isn’t filled up with priorities. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a great time. Instead, just take the time to play or complete an activity your child thinks would be fun to do together. Overall, making time to play with your child is a great way to form a strong relationship and make long-lasting memories!
Do you have a family schedule that includes time for play this winter break?