As my daughter and I drove by the local Middle School this week she noticed something that shocked her.
“Mom, where’s the playground?” she asked me confused.
I explained to her that you only get playgrounds and recess time when you are in Elementary School like she is. Once you get older, you don’t get recess anymore.
She, of course, was floored by that answer and was totally bummed to know that one day someone would be taking away her playtime.
We all understand and agree that our young kids need time to run around yelling and being the energetic little creatures they are. We can see it just by watching them start to stir and fidget when they’ve been forced to sit still too long.
But as they grow, mature and settle down we stop opening the door and saying, “Go, run, play.”
In fact, my nephew in the 7th grade told me the other day he doesn’t even have to take gym class anymore.
How This Effects Their Happiness
Some fascinating research has come out recently showing us what makes teenagers happy and the results were so interesting. (source)
⭐ What made kids the happiest was sports and exercise.
⭐ What made kids the least happy was spending time on the Internet.
Social interaction of any kind, books and church all made kids so much happier than texting, social media and online games.
Even homework makes them happier than screen time.
Lack of play is commonly listed as the reason behind the rise in adolescent depression. Kids need time for risky play, problem-solving and bravery. (source)
This is why it’s so important to encourage our kids to play. This is why it’s important to give kids opportunities to play sports even if they don’t make the team. This is why we need to get our kids off of their devices and interacting with people.
Adolescents who spent more time on electronic communication and screens and less time on nonscreen activities had lower psychological well-being. (source)
The solution is quite simple:
Do almost anything beside sit on a screen. Easy, right?
We love our smartphones and tablets, I get it as much as the next person, but they need to be last on our list.
A good rule of thumb, is to have a list of things kids need to do before they have screen time, and when they do have it, that’s it’s limited. For instance, create a list of things your kids love to do that they must do to occupy their time before picking up electronics. Play outside, read a book, play a board game with your sibling, etc.
I don’t know any parent whose main concern isn’t their kid health and happiness. We want so badly for our kids to be happy and sometimes we overlook the simplest things causing them to be the opposite.
It’s very obvious what is making our kids happy and what isn’t. The only question now, is are we ready to let them play?
More Great Parenting Reads
- The Simple Way To Boost Your Kids Brain Power
- 5 Life Changing Documentaries To Watch With Your Kids
- Why Risky Play Is So Good For Our Kids
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.