The playgrounds are empty!!! What will happen if they dont play?
6.00 am Wake up
7.00 am Break fast
7.30 am Go to school
3.00 pm Back from school
4-6 pm Tuition class /extra coaching
7-9 pm Study time
9 pm Dinner and go to sleep
This is a fourth grade student’s daily routine on a regular school day. Nowadays the leisure time after school has been transformed into tuition or extra coaching time. Oh what a change!!! Who would have thought our play time would undergo such a drastic transformation. Nowadays, we miss the happy screams from the playgrounds. Our evenings have only heard the noise of the vehicles around. On the pavements we see busy people and even busier children. In public parks too we do not see school aged children on regular days. Parents and elders prefer studies over play and children are not encouraged to play outdoors.
Our world is highly competitive and children strive to make their mark in everything they do. The concept of play has changed so drastically and nowadays nobody plays for the sake of playing. We are worried about the time more than anything else. We think twice before allowing our kids to play. When I asked one of my cousins studying in grade five why was he not going outdoors, he replied that it was hard to find time for free play in his busy schedule. His life is highly programed at such a tender age! Today’s kids suffer parental pressure more than any previous generations.
Do they get enough sunshine?
As parents we often worry about the children’s physical health and academic performance. We seldom remember the bigger aspect, which is their mental health. Nowadays parents are forced to train the kids to speak, sing and count even before they enter playschool. Because today, it’s very hard to get an admission in a well-known school if the child doesn’t perform well in the interview!!! The struggle to get a good admission begins right from the age the child starts to recognize faces! Kids have to learn all things by-heart even before they comprehend the meaning. The struggle doesn’t stop even after getting the admission. Post admission phase is found to be the toughest years; there is pressure from home plus pressure from school. Children are asked to run the rat race for top grades, medals and certificates.
Now let’s check what’s happening in between!
Too much pressure reduces the child’s self-esteem; Studies say that when children are pressurized more than their capabilities, chances of depression and self-denial are inevitable. The high expectation put on their shoulders makes the children overthink and end up in severe depression.
The lack of interest in studies and sports can be the first sign. Signs of anxiety from excessive pressure include: sleep deprivation, eating disorders, excessive worrying, exam fear, cheating, lack of interest in extracurricular activities, obsession over technology etc.
Obvious behavioural changes include highly aggressive or very lethargic attitude, mood swings, and introversion.
Fails to connect with the outer world; kids spend more time in the world of technology than in the actual world. So they tend to be more familiar with machines than with people around. Our kids often back out from social gatherings and they prefer the lone time.
Too much technology spoils the fun; the more children depend on technology, their creative abilities tend to wither away. We get a generation which is highly logical and less humane.
We miss the muddy hands of children who were privileged enough to go out and play in the Earth!! Today’s parents and care takers do not encourage outdoor play and even the children themselves prefer to stay inside engaged in their own world.
No free play = less creativity + low imagination +high pressure! Lack of free play denotes lack of freedom to have fun. Our children are trained to play games, rather than encouraged to play freely. Such games give the children a good exercise but the training sessions under a strict coach is not as pleasurable as free play. The set rules do not promise the fun and creative ideas that pop up during unrestricted play.
What we should do???
Spend time with them - The perfect gift we can give our children is our time!! Play with them and watch them play.
Don’t pressurize them to become the toppers!! Give children freedom to be themselves, let them fly rather than walk on chains.
Allow them to play freely, let their imaginative spirit rise and we may be luckier enough to see the future scientists and artists realizing their talents in the playground.
Make use of the indoor play areas where lot of children gather around to play. Let them play in groups and learn to socialize. Group playing is enhances cooperation and they will get enough space to enjoy with peers. Let our kids be free, let them live life because they are children not machines!