These days, kids are so busy with schooling and after-schooling activities that they have less and less time to play in a free-for-all, unstructured way.
This is a very dangerous problem, as Boston College psychology professor Peter Gray says that play is the way that children develop themselves.
“Playing with other children, away from adults, is how children learn to make their own decisions, control their emotions and impulses, see from others’ perspectives, negotiate differences with others, and make friends,” Gray says.
How can you, as a parent, foster an environment that allows this sort of free, playful, and creative environment?
One thing that can be done is take your kids away from the screens of tablets and smartphones and give them a lot of arts and crafts supplies.
Giving blank paper, crayons, markers, and more will spark their imaginations, and kids may even work together on projects, and will discuss what they have made with each other.
You can also inspire them by bringing in items from outside the box, like colorful leaves or flowers, and add them to the construction paper with glue. This will expand their creative horizons.
Kids are natural scientists and artists. They like to draw whatever might be on their minds, but sometimes, their scientific curiosity will bring them to ask “what happens if I take these markers and decide to draw on the walls?”
Although it will be tough, it is best to not overreact to events like this, which may stifle their creativity. At the same time, it is a good moment to instruct about what may or may not work.
Overall, professor Gray says that “play is how children learn to take control of their lives.” This is an important aspect of development that we cannot ignore, and these simple tips may save kids from a life of psychological distress.