Time to Play | Gallup Children’s Study | Melissa & Doug
Time to Play
As part of our mission to Take Back Childhood, we partnered with Gallup for a study on parents’ perspectives on childhood play. See below for what we learned and links to ways you can make time for play in your child’s life!
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Perspectives on Play
Is child-led play a priority?
No. In our study, child-led, unstructured indoor play ranks near the bottom of the priority list for both children and parents.
It should be a priority. We know this type of play has major benefits for kids, including the promotion of innovative, out-of-the-box thinking. Research has associated the lack of free play with a rise in anxiety and depression.
Want ways to foster child-led play?
Are the benefits of play fully appreciated?
Not really. Parents recognize that child-led indoor play fosters creativity and problem-solving, but don't recognize the many other skills it helps develop.
Research shows play promotes self-confidence, social and cognitive skills, resilience, and more. And it’s these skills that are crucial building blocks for success and personal fulfillment in adulthood.
Read more about the power of play!
How do parents feel about outside play?
Parents in our study want more outside play for their children, but see barriers to getting it, including children’s preference for screen-based play and lack of outdoor space or playmates.
Pediatricians say outdoor play, which often includes physical activity, helps protect against obesity and is associated with academic achievement, motor development, vision, and cognition.
Looking for easy ideas to inspire outdoor play?
What are children playing indoors?
When indoors, screen time rules. It crowds out child-led play. Nearly 70 percent of parents say they would like their child to spend less time watching media and using electronic devices.
Screen usage is well above AAP guidelines and potentially a factor in the rewiring of children’s brains in a way that may pose attention and learning problems and a propensity for risky behavior.
Discover our favorite tips for screen-free activities.
How is boredom handled?
Only one in five parents strongly agree that it’s good for children to be bored now and then, despite the fact it often leads to imaginative play and creative thinking.
Studies have shown that people who were given a boring task later outperformed others on a creative exercise.
How can you help your kids face boredom and grow from it?
Is screen time a cause for concern?
Yes! Parents with children who spend more time on screens are more likely to express concerns about their child’s stress levels, academic performance, and ability to get along with others.
Parents are right to be alarmed. There is a growing body of evidence on the negative impact increased screen-time has on our children’s mental and physical health.
What’s a parent to do?