Advice to Parents
The latest advice from child development specialists to parents wishing to increase their child’s academic potential and creativity is to let them experience some boredom. They recommend more time in less structured activities like play with a suitable educational toy from a quality toy store, and less time in front of an electronic screen.
Their point is to let children use their own creativity to fill in some of their time. In the process, they will be learning vital mental, social and emotional skills. Many parents worry about their kids’ boredom and schedule their lives full of activities to keep them busy, so every hour is scheduled. But it is in the empty hours children learn how to create their own happiness.
The experts recommend keeping the electronic screens, whether computer or TV, switched off, and instead providing educational kits, and games such as jigsaw puzzles and chess, in an age appropriate manner.
Experts acknowledge that kids are likely to become quite agitated and even annoyed at first, there will undoubtedly be increased bickering and whining. Try not to give in and throw on a handy video. Far better that they become bored and find their own recreation, like a neighbourhood game of basketball. They will soon pass through the phase of boredom and find something constructive to do. The experts fear that in the 21st century, inventiveness and self-reliance are being scheduled out of many children’s lives.
Probably the most difficult part of creating time for children’s free play, is limiting their exposure to television, but this is the most critical, according to many experts. Many harassed overworked parents use the television as an electronic child minder, so this part of the recommendation could be equally difficult for parents and children. Studies have shown that many children watch television an incredible average of 35 hours per week --- that’s five hours each and every day!
A drastic reassessment in how you view your child’s television time may help you reconsider the amount of hours you allow them to watch. Consider this --- if another adult spend five hours a day with your kids, and regularly exposed them to violence, sex and rampant commercialism, you would probably stop the children’s contact with that person, right? Well that is exactly what the television is doing.
Many children also spend hours and hours each day at computers, or playing with hand held computer or video games. Perhaps the way to go is for parents to set a daily limit as to the amount of hours a child may be ‘plugged in’ to TV, computer or video type games?
The experts also counsel parents to select educational toys with great care. Big bucks do not have to be invested in playtime. The value of an educational toy from a quality toy shop or toy store is proportional to the amount of imagination and creativity it stimulates in the child.
And parents, no matter how crammed your schedule, try to spend time each day watching your child play. This shows them that you value their play. It is not absolutely essential to join in, but would probably be appreciated by the child, as long as you don’t take over completely.
With seemingly never ending to-do lists, it is all too easy to forget that we should enjoy our children, and spare some time to have fun with them. What better way than to spend some fun time together playing a family board game?
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