3 reasons why your child must be encouraged to have a lot of play


Most parents limit their children from playing. They give reasons like; prevention from accidents, parents not wanting children to participate in children games and not wanting children to get dirty.

At home some children are made to stay indoor as parents try to prevent them from “causing problems” in the neighborhood.

Preventing children from playing however has lasting effects on the way children think.

A New Zealand volunteer who worked with schools in Uganda once noted that most of the children in Uganda “don’t think”. The volunteer reached this conclusion after studying these kids for more than three years and discovered that most of the rural school kids in Uganda can’t think independently without the help of their teachers.

The low thinking abilities in Uganda’s children especially in rural schools is a result of the lack of enough plays. Children are made to sit in classes for more than 6 hours a day which affects their mind development.

“ When a teacher stands with a stick in front of the classroom and command students to echo back what the teacher said, thinking abilities are killed and instead memorization is encouraged “ -Justine Basirika, an education assistant in Kayunga

Children learn better when they are playing. They even learn better when they get determined to win during competitive games.

Ms. Basirika also advised that encouraging children to solve complicated puzzles during competitive games will train them to think harder and this makes their brains to become more active. This is not possible when they are just listening to the teacher in a classroom.

Mr. Ronald Mugaba is a retired headteacher in Kayunga, a rural district in Uganda. He revealed that humans can be developed better during their early years especially before 7 years. This is however the period when children have their thinking abilities killed by parents and teachers.

Here are the 3 reasons why you should encourage your child to play

  1. Build their thinking abilities. Playing challenges the child’s mind to participate in problem solving in order to win the game.
  2. Playing gives children a practical experience of living safely by avoiding accidents. Although parents are scared that playing exposes children to accidents. On the contrary its those children who don’t play that are more prone to accidents because they in most cases rely on other people for their support.
  3. Playing promotes leadership tendencies in children. Human live in an organised society where leadership is recognized. Leadership abilities and respect for leaders is however leant at an early stage when children are playing. This is exercised during fights. When an adult however intervene, the cycle will be broken. Children then stop respecting leadership within their circles and start relying on adult support. Challenge is that this will create a leadership crisis and a power struggle which breaks harmony among the children community.

Experts advise that children should be allowed to play as parents and teachers train then to learn new life skills. This even work better if adults are involved in these games as participants rather than trainers.

Ms. Basirika who has worked with children  for close to 20 years advises that a teacher should be seen by these children as also competing to win in their game instead of teaching them how to win the game.

“After all you will not be there when these children need help during a life challenges” Basirika noted adding that this is why children should be encouraged to think instead of following rules.

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