Parenting Tips: Stop Over-Scheduling and Start Playing

Stop Over-Scheduling Your Children and Start Playing

play photo

Summer brings with it for many adults who interact with children, the opportunity to stop over-scheduling. Often, children receiving special services take vacations and have therapists that do the same.  More structured school environments are replaced by more laid back camp experiences.  And my mind goes immediately to the value of open-ended play. I find this time of year helps give permission to parents who generally feel their children are better served by formal activities, lessons and therapies, the chance to simply follow their child’s lead.  They can go to park without a plan, explore what happens when the Legos are dumped out at the same time as the princess figurines, and see the powerful work that is children’s play.  But why should this type of exploration and growth  happen only during the summer?  Think about ways to continue  including open-ended play in your child’s life as more formal schedules resume.

Dana’s Tip
Provide your young child with open-ended play materials like blocks, paper, crayons, trucks, clay, animals, dolls, and recyclables.  Watch, engage and follow their lead as they play through the topics that are important to them.  They may be thinking about the upcoming visit to the dentist, or the great day they had at the park yesterday.

“When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit. It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.” 
― Fred Rogers