Why don't the children play?

Rebecca Zamit makes the most of some quality time at Victoria Park to play with her daughter Lilly, 3.
Rebecca Zamit makes the most of some quality time at Victoria Park to play with her daughter Lilly, 3. Amy Haydock

REBECCA Zamit knows there's a time for work and play.

And it's no different for her daughter Lilly, 3, who was out having fun in Rockhampton's Victoria Park playground yesterday.

But for many older kids, the lure of the TV and electronic games is proving a major problem.

A survey released yesterday revealed nearly half of children aged 8-12 were not getting enough play time.

The survey, conducted by MILO, found 45% of children were not playing every day; 37% reported they didn't have anyone to play with and 55% said they'd like to spend more time playing with their parents.

Rebecca said playing was imperative for character building and as a learning tool for young children.

"I take Lilly to the park or swimming to spend time with her whenever I can, but it can be hard when you work," she said.

"I think you need to make the time for your child because it's easy for a parent to put their kids in front of the TV."

The MILO State of Play study, conducted among grandparents, parents and children by Sweeney Research, found that while more than 94% of parents and grandparents believed play was not only important but essential for children's development, it was rapidly falling off the list of priorities.

This is particularly concerning as experts, including child psychologist and play-based learning expert Paula Barrett, warn that unstructured, active play is essential to help kids learn important life skills, develop imagination and creativity, form habits and cope in changeable situations.

"In addition to missing out on the fun of play and learning important social skills, parents and children may lose the opportunity for important bonding time that happens during play," Dr Barrett said.

PLAY TIME

  • 37% of children say they have run out of ideas for play so may turn to electronic devices for amusement. In fact, almost half of kids' free time (47%) is now spent plugged in - watching TV, playing video games or on electronic devices.
  • 44% of children claim they are too tired from school or have too much homework to play.
  • 43% of parents struggle to find time to play with their children

Topics:  children, playground, rockhampton, victoria park



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