Teaching Kids to Balance Work and Play

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From: Positively Positive

By: Jennifer Landis

Ah, childhood! The one time in our lives when we are blissfully free of any responsibilities, right?

Not exactly. In fact, many kids today have more responsibilities than ever before. The advent of “helicopter parenting” combined with tougher laws prohibiting “free-range” child-rearing prior to certain ages has resulted in a generation of children who are more stressed out than their predecessors could have imagined. Once upon a time not too long ago, the street lights coming on were a near-universal sign that playtime was over, and children would head home for dinner. Now, it’s rare for kids under the age of 12 to get any time without direct adult supervision.

While this constant supervision may make our children safer, it doesn’t necessarily assist in their emotional, mental or social development. Indeed, having too much strictly structured time can turn children into adults who are uncomfortable or even incapable of acting independently without direction from others. In the majority of cases, mild social anxiety can result if children are allowed to interact with their peers without guidance — at worst, they may develop anxiety disorders or other mental issues.

Kids need adult guidance, and they do need to learn. That said, there is still wisdom in the saying to let kids be kids. Playtime is just as important as schooling in terms of emotional and social development. Developing a healthy balance between work and play will help your children grow up as healthy, well-adjusted adults.

Remember, School Is Work for Kids

While popular folk wisdom is that children have no responsibilities, this is far from true. Yes, children may not be responsible for paying bills or putting food on the table — however, this does not mean that children do not have any of the stressors of responsibility.

It’s important to remember that school is work for children. If you think sitting and learning for six or seven hours per day isn’t difficult, simply think back to the last three-hour lecture you suffered through in college. How long were you able to remain focused without your mind wandering or your body becoming fidgety? When you throw in a bit of pressure from parents and other relatives, school becomes a very serious business for children indeed.

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