Know about the 4 downsides of a lack of playtime in children

Playtime offers a number of benefits to children. Various studies suggested that spontaneous, fun and meaningful play can significantly contribute to a child’s development

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Discouraging children to spend time with friends or to get outside of the house to enjoy have been found to have negative effects on their growth, according to WellnessMama.com.

Lack of playtime in children has been linked to the following: excessive anxiety, over-reaction to innocent social interactions, trouble coordinating movements with peers and reduced ability to solve mental tasks.

In 2014, researchers found that children in public schools have been exposed to some of these problems because they spend more time studying and less time playing.

Parents’ decision to restrict kids from going out to play due to fear of abduction, trafficking and other security concerns also affected the development of children.

Engaging kids to too many organised activities, such as sports, also affected their time to play and development. However, researchers noted having some extra activities can offer benefits but too much could lead to some problems.

The rise of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, also add to the challenges kids face at present.

Health benefits of free play

Researchers previously found that physical playtime could help build cognitive functions. A research by the Lego Foundation showed that children who actively engaged in joyful and meaningful playtime showed improved ability to reason, problem solve, remember and focus.

“Play promotes healthy executive function,” Katie Wells, founder and CEO of Wellness Mama, said in an article. “Although it may not look like it, free play and unstructured free time can teach kids to develop acceptable behaviour.”

Such development would help them better perform in organisation, planning self-control, understanding different points of view and adapting to unexpected situations, she added. Playtime enhances their emotional intelligence, social and communication skills, creativity and physical activity.

Digital day off

To date, despite parents encouraging their kids to go outside and spend time playing with friends, technology is turning the attention of children away from physical activities. Their exposure to screens, playing video games or browsing the internet could lead to a sedentary lifestyle.

It is widely known that lack of physical activity or exercise could increase the risk of obesity and other health problems. To help kids become more active, parents are advised to try to implement regular digital off days.

It should help children and the family find other activities to bond, have fun and avoid screen time.

Source: Medical Daily