Play helps children develop sociallyChildren are the future for our society including the overall well-being of human beings. As we moved through the 20th Century and into the 21st Century, we often hear that children need more time in school, which not only includes a longer day, but also a longer year.
By: By Patrick C. Dorin, Ph.D., Superior Telegram
Children are the future for our society including the overall well-being of human beings. As we moved through the 20th Century and into the 21st Century, we often hear that children need more time in school, which not only includes a longer day, but also a longer year.
Still another problem has surfaced – the amount of time children spend before the television, or playing games and other activities on computers. Furthermore, computers are being used even more so in classrooms at all age levels for teaching.
Although computers can provide additional support in the instructional process, they are not the bottom line as “learning” can progress further and last longer with interaction with teachers as well as parents and other students – known as friends.
Unfortunately, the environment of television and computerized instruction takes away time for human interaction with parents, the teaching staff and new levels of development of friendships as they mature between the age of two and the magic number of adulthood at 18.
As our children grow, there are many advantages to playtime, which includes the very important development of friendships. Young children simply playing with their own toys on their own but are together leads to the development of conversations. This in turn leads to playing together with all sorts of activities. It can include children playing catch with each other, and even playing “house” where the individuals take on roles of parenting and babysitters. This concept can move even further as the development of friendships leads to more advanced activities, such as playing school with teachers.
Children develop friendships at a very early age. As they get to know one another, as they move through their first two years of life, they not only develop a close relationship with family members, but also with other children with whom they have opportunities to interact. This provides the basement for an understanding of what “love” means. This is a crucial element for child development. Without this concept, an individual simply grows up with aggressiveness and a lack of understanding of how human beings of all types of cultures can have positive relationships and support for one another. A concept becomes impeded in a child’s mind that anyone else who is difference and does things differently is completely “wrong.” This, unfortunately, leads to a “closed mind” and inhabits the learning process, not only at school but also on playgrounds, church and many other potential learning environments. What can be done to avoid this type of development?
To begin with, parents also need more interaction time with the children in their early ages. This doesn’t mean that all of the time must be “quality time,” but an environment in which the parents are near for interacting with the children. This can mean such things as “questions” that pop in the child’s mind. When mom and dad, grandma and grandpa or other family members are near, the child has an immediate source for information. This increases their positive relationship with the family, which also provides the baseline for developing friendships beyond the family.
As children grow older, and when they are spending huge amounts of time simply watching television and are on the computer, they are not having appropriate time spent with other children for play, and even various types of work activities. When children are together doing chores, they can learn how to team up to accomplish the best possible work not only at home, but also helping out in the classroom.
Computerized learning can be beneficial to a certain extent. However, the human interaction with the teacher, and sometimes with classmates, can produce a synergistic effect for learning. Discussing various concepts or even playing games with arithmetic flash cars adds more levels to the learning process, and increases the memory skills.
There is more to this problem of too much time at the computer or the television set. It takes away physical activities, and unfortunately leads to poor eating habits with new levels of weight gains and other health problems related to poor foods. The lack of important levels of physical activities actually increases the brain functions, and can provide more appropriate sleep time through nighttime hours. An appropriate amount of sleep is very important for children as well as adults. Not enough sleep also leads to decreasing the ability to learn in school as well as behavior problems. When this takes place, all too often, nobody recognizes what the foundations are for the lack or learning and/or behavior problems.
Our “Children” are the most important asset for the future of not only America, but for the entire world. We have to go beyond the concept “Children are First” and actually do things to reduce TV and computer time, securing appropriate sleep, and full interaction for the learning process in school, not only with the teaching staff, but with the parents and classmates too.
There is no doubt about it; human beings could have a great future just by working with and loving our children.