10.27.11

Feeling Anxious, Depressed? You Should Have Been Playing

Have you been feeling frustrated, stressed, down in the dumps? Maybe it’s because you spent too much time preparing for adulthood as a child, and too little time playing

Suicide rates quadrupled from 1950 to 2005 for children less than fifteen years and for teens and young adults ages 15-25, they doubled. Gray believes that the loss of unstructured, free play for play’s sake is at the core of this alarming observation and that as a society, we should reassess the role of free play and the factors that seem to have all but eliminated it from our children’s lives.

Unfortunately, it’s only getting worse: 

In another study, mothers were asked to compare their own memories of their playtime, to their children’s current schedules. Eighty-five percent noted that their children played outdoors less frequently and for shorter periods of time than they had. The mothers noted that they restricted their own children’s outdoor play because of safety concerns, a fact echoed in other surveys where parents mentioned child predators, road traffic, and bullies as reasons for restricting their children’s outdoor play.

Perhaps those of us with children would be wise to seek out places and opportunities for our kids to play more often. 

-Richard Clark

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