Definition of play – “activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children”
So this brings me to my blog about play, what’s right? what’s wrong?
I hear it from others all the time.
Too much iPad time! Too much time spent gaming! I hate the kids on them devices constantly – they should be playing … “Real Play”
But what is “real play”? I remember my childhood sat in my room playing Barbies for hours, playing with my dolls, talking away all day to myself. I would sit in my room pretending I was a teacher, all my teddies in line and babbling away. Was it wrong that I sat in my room and did not engage with anyone for hours? I was happy. I didn’t have any label – I was just an ordinary little girl, a lucky one at that. I had a beautiful dollhouse, the best dolls on the market. I wasn’t judged or made to feel that there was a wrong way of playing or the right way.
It niggles me that this day in age people still think there is a right way for children to play. ” You shouldn’t be letting them sit on that laptop all day”, ” It annoys me seeing kids in front of screens all day”. Does it really matter, as long as that child is happy, the parent is responsible enough to monitor a child’s activity? Then maybe just maybe what that child is doing is actually, in fact, a lot more than you may think!
- Interacting with other children online
- Using better hand-eye coordination
- Improving language skills – reading E-Books
- Increasing motivation – Most games your child plays you must complete the level. These learning games help to create a foundation for children to overcome challenges and keep on trying.
- Life is much bigger than the 4 walls inside your home surfing the net opens up endless information that your child can access
So we want to go outside the sun is shining its a nice day, too nice to be stuck indoors. Guess what? The phone comes out we are off to catch some pokemon or shoot a video so our child can have fun editing it with dad later. Is technology really such a bad thing?
Times have changed and no child should be judged on how the right way to play is. Each child is different. A child like mine won’t sit and play with cars and a garage, but if your child does and they’re happy then that’s all that matters.
Does it make you feel a good parent by watching your child play with crayons and paper whilst mine is outside catching pokemon in the woods in the fresh air with a screen in front of his face? Watch that face, see if that face is smiling, are they happy? are they content? That’s real play.
Every child is different, looking back to when I was a child sitting in my room for hours talking to myself with my dolls I was happy. I wasn’t learning anything. I wasn’t socializing or talking with others, I wasn’t learning how to win anything. But because I had no screen in front of me and technology wasn’t really a big thing back then this type of play is classed as “healthy playing” or a normal childhood.
Stick a screen in front of me, have the opportunity to talk to others that have similar interests as me, learn how to code, learn how to make videos, learn how to problem solve … even doing AQA awards in developing a website and web design at the age of 8 years old. All this and it is still seen as a child not playing normally? Would you still tut because that child is engaged with his iPad or on a laptop? Do you still think comments such as “I hate seeing them on them devices constantly” … helps?
“They would have far more fun playing a board game and learn more away from that screen” Would they?
If you have a child like mine we don’t have many friends that call round for a playdate due to complex PDA and it can be a huge problem learning how to share, learning not to win. Wanting to be in control of the game, or even just getting out to a friends house as the demand is too much that day. But we take each day in our stride.
If playing online allows our children to be in a happy environment where they feel more in control, can end the game when they want to, learn that if they don’t win they can come off the game, to take the time out that they need to realise they haven’t won but start again when they feel ready and be happy isn’t that more important?
Each child is different, play is what makes a child happy.
Please don’t judge a child for being on their device, sometimes you may just realise they are learning way more than sitting on their own playing with a car and a garage or playing in their room with their dolls.
There is no right or wrong way for a child to play as long as that child is happy – isn’t that the best outcome?
I have copied a link that is also relevant to this subject which you may find interesting to those who go on about screen time and that they have little effect on sleep.