“Play Is The Work Of Childhood”

One of the pleasures of blogging is following the blogs of other writers. Recently I was taken with a post by Jennifer Margulis titled “Why Is It So Hard To Let My Kids Enjoy Life At Their Own Pace?” She discusses the tendency we parents have to try to make our kids abide by our sensibilities about time – even times when there is no need to rush, such as when they are at a playground. Consider these observations that she offers:

Hurry becomes a habit.

So does scolding.

Even when there’s nothing to be late for, even when no one’s done anything wrong.

Why do we take our children out to do something “fun” and then try to control what they do and make them do it faster?

Jennifer provides lots of insight in this post and it’s a great read for parents. Indeed, this idea of slowing it down is not just important for experiencing the pure pleasure of spending relaxed time with your children (though that’s reason enough). It’s also a way of acknowledging that children have their own important ways of perceiving the world that is tightly connected to their cognitive development. It’s been appreciated for a very long time that children learn best by exploration and manipulation. So when a kid wants to stop and look at explore, they are really expressing their creativity – the mind is in motion, pondering all kinds of possibilities that can be put into immediate action. You all have heard the expression that “play is the work of childhood” – it’s really those moments when that principle comes to life.

Reading Jennifer’s post brought to mind two other posts by fellow bloggers here at Parents.com.  Jill Cordes wrote a terrific piece on dreading – but ultimately loving – going to Sesame Place with her daughter Fia. And “Unexpectedly Expecting” Julia offered a thoughtful look at  how she let go of her “helicopter parenting” tendency and let her daughter Caroline go wild at an amusement park, with the result being they both had a blast.

Beyond the pleasure of reading parents’ descriptions of their conscious efforts of letting loose and following their child’s rhythm, I love these posts because they are a reminder that we need to indulge kids’ natural tendencies to explore. We hear plenty about all kinds of new ways to promote cognitive development and we are certainly on the receiving end of the marketing of educational toys and devices (not that they are all bad, but you get where I’m going with this). We all need to remind ourselves that a simple way to nurture our child’s cognitive development is to just let them do what comes naturally.

Image by photostock courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Add a Comment
Back To Red-Hot Parenting