Children and unsupervised fun

Parent Connection

February 10, 2011 

When you've worked in the children business for decades you can't help but notice children in action. My latest experience not only caught my eye but engaged my brain for a bit as well.

I was out and about one sunny afternoon and noticed a group of children, playing together rather contently. Boys and girls in coats and hats were running around with no electronics, sports or playground equipment. Such unbridled fun.

Play. It certainly has changed over the years. Oh, I know. Play is still play for lots of kids, but how they do so has certainly changed. With organized sports teams for tots on up, the craze across our nation has been adults organizing how kids play -- and supervising every little detail of it all. Seriously, when I see a group of kids just running around playing together without coaches, referees, and parents screaming "encouragement," I really take notice. Though youth sports has its place in our world, my fear is that starting kids so early is due to the overly competitive spirit of adults. In a nutshell, we as a culture of parents need to stop robbing our young children from the opportunity to have self-directed, creative and just plain fun time together.

Why is this so important? Creative thinking is lacking with many youngsters, and don't get me started with social skills. For our children to grow up to become responsible, self-sustaining and get this -- content young adults one day, parents need to allow the time and opportunity for kids to get together and just be kids.

Got young kids? Allow them time and space to get together and just play. If they're not used to it you may have to spell it out and facilitate things somewhat, but don't hover. You can watch from a distance to keep things safe without getting in the way of kids just being kids.

Bryan Greeson, a nationally certified School Psychologist, serves as the Director of Special Services in York School District One. E-Mail him at parentconnection@hotmail.com.

Bryan Greeson, a nationally certified School Psychologist, serves as the Director of Special Services in York School District One. E-Mail him at parentconnection@hotmail.com.

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