If only children could turn their hyperactive mood swings on and off like a light switch, right? After all, getting them to do what you want would be so much easier. However, attempting to curb their natural desire to move and play could be harming their development. According to psychologists in Europe, parents can actually hinder normal development of leadership skills if they keep children from playing where risk is higher. Furthermore, they may even be at higher risk for developing phobias as adults. Here are 3 important reasons kids need physical play every day.
Kids Need Physical Play Every Day #1: It Helps Early Development of Brain and Physical Body
We hear it all the time that children learn while they play, but just how do they do it? The Child Development Institute claims that up to 75% of the brain develops after birth. The nerve cells in the brain are forging new links, associating emotions with causes and effects. What children learn with regards to what works and what doesn’t in physical tests, such as fitting shapes in the right holes, is stored as memory. Allowing children to play with other kids also helps to develop social skills and problem-solving.
Kids Need Physical Play Every Day #2: Overcome Fear and Anxiety
Children can develop fear and anxiety with very little influence from you or their environment. I’ve seen it in my own children. What’s more, fears can show up suddenly even when they did not exist in the past. Allowing your children to be free to play and explore can help alleviate some of it.
Creating safe places for them to play encourages self-confidence and exploration. Try building your own jungle gym in the backyard with a poured rubber playground, for safety and convenience. Having a home jungle gym will naturally help them to move up to harder and more psychologically challenging things as they get older.
Climbing and practicing balance improves hand-eye coordination. They can learn to overcome their fears be going down slides, which allows them to understand the basic concept of risk and reward. Additionally, if you have their friends over, they can play as a team and encourage each other.
Kids Need Physical Play Every Day #3: Health Benefits
Raising healthy children is getting tougher each year, as “play” has a whole new meaning. Video games, computers, phones, and other electronic devices have taken over as the normal activity in our society. The health benefits of physical play have all been forgotten by many parents. One of the reasons may be that they, themselves, don’t get enough physical activity.
Inactivity in a child hinders normal development of bones and muscles. Not only that, but it solidifies a poor habit of being inactive for the future. We know that staying active lowers risk for dangerous conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, heart problems, and diabetes. It’s obvious that play is not just for fun; it’s an important part of living a healthful life that, hopefully, will stay with them into adulthood.