Lack of Independent Play Time Can Hurt Child’s Mental Health: Study


Dancing is one of the most fun and easiest ways to get your kids to stay physically active.

Despite the best of intentions, research shows that constant adult surveillance robs kids of their independence

Parents are usually quite protective of their little ones. It can take many forms, including keeping a cautious eye on kids whenever they step out to play. While the intentions might be good, research suggests that continuous adult supervision deprives children of their independence.  This drastically impacts their mental health, including anxiety, depression, and suicide amongst the younger population. Coupled with an increase in schoolwork pressure, this is weighing heavily on the psychological well-being of children.

According to research presented in the Journal of Pediatrics, over the years, kids and teenagers have had fewer opportunities to play, roam, and participate in activities free from adult supervision and control. The study revealed a drop in children’s freedom to participate in activities that involve some risk and personal responsibility as well. This deprivation of autonomy has resulted in record-high rates of anxiety and depression among young people.

Early exposure to some risks, such as climbing high places or getting a scraped knee, are essential for preventing phobias and anxiety later in life. It is imperative that parents allow some independence and room for autonomous decision-making, risk-taking, and socialising.

Here are a few tips you can follow to inculcate a sense of independence in your toddlers and reduce pressures they face:

  1. Schedule their play time: Just like you schedule their study time, make sure you add playtime for your little one. It is their source of happiness. Allot at least an hour for them to engage themselves in playing.
  2. Stay close, but not too close: Independent play does not necessarily mean playing alone. Instead of jumping in at every moment to help them out. Just encourage them once in a while when they are playing with building blocks or tell them how to arrange the legos so that it does not fall.
  3. Type of toys: If you want your child to become independent, provide them with open-ended toys that have multiple uses. Give them boxes, blocks, dolls, magnet tiles or sensory materials. These are great for solo play and keep your toddler occupied for a longer time.

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