Did you ever feel like family life has turned into one massive schedule?
Shuffling your kids from one activity to the next: dance class, gymnastics, karate, soccer, and baseball. It starts in pre-school. And the older kids get, the more scheduled life becomes. By the time we get home, it's dinner and right to bed. Where’s the playtime? Where’s the family time? Where’s the downtime?
Kids need unstructured playtime too. Unstructured playtime helps them to ‘come into their own’, be their own person. Fun, physically-driven activities like tag and chase, hide and seek, sword-fighting, and Marco Polo enable kids to make the rules and learn social interaction on their own terms.
Rough-and-tumble play instills essential life lessons, teaching kids through our physical actions not just our words. With roughhousing, boys and girls learn how to establish limits, understand boundaries, and read body language.
As a society, we are soooo worried about aggressive play sending the wrong message that we’re doing a great disservice to our children. Stop over-scheduling and make time for free play. Get in there, have fun and get physical with your kids. Allow them to make the rules sometimes. Give up some control and let kids be kids. Who knows, we just may create a safer tomorrow after all.
We’d love to hear how your family manages scheduled activities and free playtime. Please tell us in the comments section below.