Play and Development
Debbie Mobbs
Print Email Add to Favourites Share

Many parents have a love-hate relationship with school holidays. Initially one is relieved for the break from routine and time-bound commitments, but often within a few days (or hours!) of the holidays kicking off, parents are wishing they would end! Why? Because the kids are arguing or glued to the different screens in the house - be it TV, tablets or phones.

These days our children are seldom “bored” or have nothing to do. There is always something on hand to keep them entertained - be it a tablet, an outing that parents have planned or a sports clinic to attend. When do our children ever just be children and get an opportunity to play?

During the last school holidays I made a concerted effort to not allow as much screen time and encouraged my kids to 'just be kids' and engage their imaginations through traditional play.

This was initially easier said than done! When the requests for iPad or TV came at 7am in the morning, the answer was “No”. When they came at 10am, the answer was still “No” and the same at 3pm. By 5pm, this Mom was ready to cave, but we had decided as a family to limit screen time to weekends only, so the guilt of always saying "No" seemed less intense.

After a few days I saw an amazing transformation. As my kids started realising that I was not going to change my mind and say “yes”, they stopped asking as frequently. They began to find ways to entertain themselves. They started using their imaginations and began developing some fun games and activities that would go on for hours. Some were even carried over to the next day! They made fishing rods from sticks in the garden and string; they made a fort with their beds and linen in their bedroom. Daily competitions where held to see who could do the most sit down-stand up movements in a row on the trampoline (they have not played on the trampoline in months!). When the weather was miserable they would draw and colour in some amazing pictures or pull out the board games which hadn’t been played with in too long.

These are just a few of the fun games and activities that they came up with and played by themselves for hours. It was wonderful to watch (from a distance) and see my children just playing and having fun.

This probably all sounds a bit long-winded, but I guess what I’m trying to share with you is the wonderful lesson I was reminded of first-hand... that our children do not need to be entertained every waking minute by us as parents, or by technology. Children are inherently creative and love playing - they just need to be given the opportunity to do so.

So the next time my children say "I'm bored", instead of trying frantically to come up with something to entertain them, I’m going to simply smile and say "that’s wonderful, now let the adventures begin"; because it is in the face of boredom, that the magic of creativity and play blossoms!

Sensational Kids has a number of wonderful products that can inspire creativity and purposeful play. Here are a few of our favourites:

Sensational Kids Blog & News

Welcome to the Sensational Kids "Make Sense" blog and news section where we will do our very best to keep you up to date with relevant and interesting news and thoughts.