Develop Kids Creative Minds Through Play

Kids are bombarded with electronic options to play with, many would be happy to spend their whole time watching TV, playing computer games, playing games on phones, playing a gaming console, mucking about with an ipad, playing wii or watching a movie.  Many of these electronic devices have an educational component to them but at the end of the day what is all this screen time doing to our children's minds?

Once upon a time parents had to think only about limiting the time kids watched TV to ensure they had time to play outside and do homework.  Now there are so many electronic toys to choose from that parents have to think about how much time their child sits in front of a screen verses interacting with real people. 

Most parents are very busy, if they are not at work or picking up children there is house work to do, homework to supervise and dinner to cook.  When your son or daughter says to you "I'm bored, I don't know what to do.... can I watch TV?" the easy answer is yes, and as a parent you know that they will be quite and occupied for awhile and you can get on to doing something undisturbed.

However, if you say "no" you may be surprised by the outcome.  But, you need to be prepared to say no to all electronic devices - TV, computer, phones, gaming machines etc.  Once these devices are out of the picture the 'bored' child will often surprise you.  It is at these times that you find kids making spaceships out of old shoe boxes, or dressed up in your old clothes doing a fashion show, or making potions from things in the garden.  It is at these times that siblings of all ages interact and play together.   Kids need time just to play and create their own stories and games without the interruption of electronic toys.  It is when kids have this time that their mind is able to develop in a creative and beneficial way.  When kids play in this way parents can then get on doing their own thing undisturbed as children can get just as absorbed in creative play as they can watching TV or playing computer games.

It is worth thinking about how much screen time your child actually has on an average week. It is also important to ensure that your child's schedule includes time when nothing is planned.   A busy schedule with many after school activities and weekend activities leaves little time for kids to just play and develop their creative minds.

Next time your 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 year old asks to watch TV or use the computer, try saying no.  You may have to say no 10 times and there may be some tears, but after that I hope you are pleasantly surprised by how your child then creates something to play with out of nothing.



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