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The Importance of Play in Our Lives 

 

kids play on swingsIf it feels like you have less free time and fewer unstructured “play” hours in your life, you’re not alone. Consider these statistics: 

 

  The average married couple works 26 percent longer each year than similar working couples did thirty years ago. 

 

  Leisure time among children ages 12 and under has declined from 40 percent of a child’s day in 1981 to 25 percent of a child’s day in 1997, and about one in four adults reports no leisure-time or physical activity. 

 

Our busy demanding, forever available mean we are always working, always rushed, always connected, always something left to do. With mobile phones and blackberries interrupting family moments, quiet time, wi-fi and internet connections at every other spot   beckoning us all hours of the night and day, it’s hard to separate “play” from “work.” Yet to maintain balance in our lives, and for our ultimate well-being, play is important. 

 

Physical Play is so important for a child’s growth, development and health. Play is also vitally important for adults. The laughter, the interaction between child and parent, the development of relationships is critical to ones sanity and well being..   Play is crucial at every stage of life. In play, we discover pleasure, cultivate feelings of accomplishment, and acquire a sense of belonging. When we play, we learn and mature and find an outlet for stress.  

 

“Play is like the lost key… It unlocks the door to inner self” 

 

When we are completely involved in play our cares and worries disappear. Playing a game of tennis, or being thoroughly engrossed in a good novel, allows us to feel pleasurably alive and light-hearted. There is nothing like play to allow us to be present in the moment. 

 

If you feel like you don’t have enough play time in your life (and who doesn’t), try these suggestions: 

 

Switch-off. Turn off the television, computer, mobile phone for designated times of the day or week.. 

 

Be creative.   What physical activities do you and your children enjoy? A walk in the park, messing with a ball together, making a jig-saw, baking, the possibilities are endless. Recall what you used to enjoy doing yourself a s a child - why not make some time and relive the experience? 

 

Include others. Invite your friends over to play a board game, just like you used to when you were a kid. Nothing planned, nothing structured. Let yourself have fun… 

 

Think physical. Go for a walk, ride your bike, rent some skates, go for a swim or a run. 

 

Pretend. Pretend you don’t have any cares or worries. Pretend you have all the time in the world to laugh and play and enjoy. Pretend there is no moment other than this. 

 

Plan play like you plan other important things to do.  Allow yourself to just be…Interact as much as you can with your children, make memories to treasure forever! 

 

Laugh lots every day. 

 

The Team at HelpMe2Parent.ie