Here at Play Pouch Australia we love kids, and we love a foundation who do great work to support kids who might not have as easy a path as others. When we heard about the Pyjama Foundation we were so impressed by the work that they do
As our babies grow into toddlers and pre-schoolers, life continues to be busy and get busier. Play with our kids can become less of a priority as house work, paid work and daily life rolls on. As adults, we can get caught up in order, organisation, cleanliness and routine. If we have a chance, we just want to relax! It can be hard to remember to make time to meet our little people on a playful level. Playing with our kids and letting go can be hard when we feel so time poor and pressured. It seems easier to resort to screens as digital baby-sitters. But as we know and as research shows, play is essential to the development of a child. Play is natural for children. Play engages the imagination, creativity and joy that is inherent to a child. Since kids learn through play, when we as parents engage in play with our children, we have an opportunity to lay foundations for a happy and healthy life.
The importance of creative play for a child.
Dr Justin Coulson, psychologist, author and parenting expert explains that play meets three vital needs for children: relatedness, competence and autonomy.
- Relatedness - Through play, children connect with others and develop relationship skills. They communicate, collaborate and explore conflict, emotions and social situations. They learn to relate.
- Competence - When our children play open-ended games they engage imagination and creativity and feel satisfied when they succeed. This engenders confidence and self-esteem and encourages the child to continue to try new things. Play allows children to experience competence.
- Autonomy – When children play they are in control and develop resourcefulness and resilience. The become aware of their autonomy and independence.
Play time is synonymous with learning and Dr Justin Coulson supports the intertwining of the two to achieve the best outcomes for kids.
The struggle against the screen.
In 2017 the Australian Child Heath Poll revealed some alarming news around habits of screen time in our homes (rchpoll.org.au). The study, conducted by the Royal Children’s hospital, confirms a trend toward screen use as a digital baby-sitter. It is tempting to occupy a child with a screen so that we can ‘get things done’ and 85% of us do this with our children aged 6 and under. One in four of us uses a screen to distract our little person every day of the week! Half of these kids are using a screen based device without supervision which means we miss opportunities for conversation around what they see and children are missing out on the benefits of creative play.
The Director of the Australian Child Heath Poll, Paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes, said that many Australian families are experiencing conflict over screen use (including TV, computers, iPads and other screen based devices) and that excessive use is of concern to parents. Even young children spend a significant amount of time using screens at home; infants and toddlers averaged 14 hours, the two to five year-olds 26 hours, and the six to 12-year age group averaged 32 hours per week. Experts say these figures should be as close to zero as possible.
As parents we need to prioritise play for our kids. Leading by example and switching off the TV or putting down the iPad can be liberating for us. Children rarely need much encouragement to engage in play but sometimes we can benefit from a bit of inspiration. Local playgroups are wonderful places to engage in play with other families in our communities. Another technique to encourage creative play is to keep simple toys and play props in easy reach. When out and about with kids, a small collection of toys or a busy bag can be useful.
We want our children to thrive. Making time for creative play and minimizing screen time is really important. By joining in play time with our kids we can benefit too! What sort of creative play might you engage in today?
- learn more from Dr Justin Coulson at com.au
- the results of the National Child Heath Poll are published at rchpoll.org.au
- find a Playgroup near you at playgroupaustralia.org.au
Take CareKate xx
We are Kate and Kate, the creators of Play Pouch Australia.
We are so excited to have had such a great response to the very gorgeous Colour & Go Mini Pouch!
This post seems a no-brainer to me… but I write it for those of you who seek a sorted and organised home. Just so you know – my home is not perfectly organised! However, I have toyed with the idea of becoming a professional organiser. In this era of consumerism, we need to earn skills to deal with all the stuff that comes into our lives. I’m inspired particularly by Lissane Oliver and Peter Walsh. These guys are absolutely consummate at keeping it real when assessing how we stay on top of the chaos around us rather than letting it take over our lives. My mum was always a winner at this – she was a natural organiser. I admire the natural ability some people have at choosing quality, curating the items that take their attention and fill their space and making those things work for them. For now, what I can offer is the Play Pouch vs the plastic tub. Try it in your home. See how the items you store in a Play Pouch are vested with the attention they deserve. Test the way that the Play Pouch may allow you to have those things to be used rather than being out of reach or mind. And consider whether using a Play Pouch rather than a plastic tub contributes to your lifestyle and quality of life. xx
I feel like so much time in my day is taken up with asking my kids to tidy up their mess. It really gets frustrating.
However, I always encourage my kids to clean up their own mess as well as help their siblings. Asking kids to clean up after themselves not only provides them with responsibility, but also teaches them about accountability. They need to take care of the toys they are playing with as well as respect the space they are using them in. This will also help them as they grow older and become teenagers. They are more likely to keep their things tidy if they’ve always had the responsibility to do so.
How We Montessori talk about a number of different ways to encourage your child to clean up and why it’s so important. You can read more about this on our Facebook page today, but here are a few key ideas from How We Montessori about cleaning up and what it teaches kids:
- We value and respect our materials and our toys
- We value our environment and our home
- We value order
- Teaches natural consequences
- Teaches responsibility
These are just a few ideas taken from a great article. I think it is important that we don’t set out to teach our kids about perfection and more about helping them to develop good habits to take through each stage of their lives.
How do you encourage your child to clean up effectively?
References from How We Montessori – How to encourage your child to clean up and why it’s important