Friday, 11 November 2016

#ChildrensDay Let kids play freely

Yesterday I missed my office and enjoyed the day with my naughty toddler.  I and my husband were playing with him and while playing he did a funny thing. He said “Abhi Baby ko base pasand hai (the song) lagata hu..” He went to the front wall and put his finger inside a wall patch and came back. As per his play, this was switching on the song ‘Baby ko base pasand hai’ which happen to be his favorite song these days. We, husband-wife, laughed madly noticing his silly play.
Kids around the world, those living with the most sophisticated families in big cities to those living in remote villages; spend much time 'just playing.' And only we adults can use this word ‘just’ with playing here.  We assume nothing is happening when kids are playing, mostly when they pretend to be a doctor, a mother, a fairy or a firefighter . You must have seen kids holding their arms like wings, making motor sounds, and running about, pretending to operate airplanes or a bike. The reality is, a lot is happening when kids are ‘just’ playing.  They develop skills, habits, and attitudes while playing and this will stay with them throughout their lives. During their plays, kids learn to cope up their frustration, to share with others, to give vocal expressions to their thoughts and to use creativity in using limited resources. They play and keep. Kids use best of their understanding about this world to design their unique plays.  They don’t need to be taught how to play.
For kids,the play is actually their work, and they give a tremendous amount of energy and effort to do it perfectly. However, they do not play for any reward, money, or food for playing good. They play because they like it. If we look at the definition of play, “Play involves a free choice activity that is non-literal, self-motivated, and enjoyable and process oriented.” So if we are instructing kids to make a word with using letter A, it’s not playing. When we ask them to label the colors of their paints, instead of using them to create a picture, they are not playing. The play actually means less use of external aspects, materials, and instructions.
With increasing competition around us, it is seen that more and more parents expect their young kids to be learning specific academic skills. And they push more academics and computer instruction on young kids. Ironically, at the same time, they are eliminating free plays from the formal education of their kids. There is no afternoon plays allowed for kids which we used to enjoy in our childhoods. Consequences are, many of our homes become dominated by passive TV watching for studies and computer games. Kids now don't want to walk aimlessly in the park, throw stones in the water to see the ever-expanding ripples, build muddy castles  or a frontier fort with their buddies. Believe me, it’s not a good sign for coming generation kids. They might become masters in operating computers but they may lose their creative vibes.
I feel this world will keep on getting more complex and more technological, but to succeed here, our kids need a solid foundation based on plays. This only I am not saying, this is a fact based on a study of child physiology. We, parents, should be very careful about advancing them too quickly into abstract skills and inhuman concepts like computers and smartphones. Lots of free play at an early age enables kids to develop the wide, integrated foundation required for their future academic success. It also will develop in our kids a love of learning new things, a passion that is desperately needed by kids who are going to spend 12-13 years of their life in playing challenging academic strikes.                              

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