Kids and the Fight for Time

If you really want to grasp how little time today’s kids
have, just take a look at this well-meaning webpage from
PBS Kids.  Entitled “Time
Management:  Make a Daily Schedule,”
shows a child how to set goals and plan a schedule
with an eye toward “time
wasters,” something I did not feel I had to learn until my early 30’s.

Remember when being a kid was all about time without
borders, life without worry and fun without goals?
  Well, those times are obviously gone.

Between school, heavy homework assignments; organized
sports; play groups; meals; television and computer time, when do kids actually
play?  It would appear that play takes
place “in-between.
”  It’s that time in
the backseat of the car going from overscheduled place to place; in a fast food
restaurant between bites of Chicken McNuggets and surreptitiously when no adult
is looking. 

It’s this nature of play, play on the go and out of sight
that lends itself to tablets and cell phones.
Think about it, oversized toys and games with lots of pieces just don’t
travel well.  Just try taking Playdoh

Lego in the car.  

Is it any surprise that digital play platforms, inconspicuously
hidden in pants pocket or secreted in a Mom’s pocketbook have become the
platform of choice for kids and their parents

They are instantly accessible, provide a wide breadth of choices and don’t
make a mess for busy parents to have to clean.

This is the arena in which
everyone in the business of play competes. 
Are you building portability and simplicity into your toys and games?

2 thoughts

  1. Sad side effect of the over-scheduled child is the kid who has no idea how to entertain themselves, and constantly asks adults “what should I do” if they are not in an organized activity.My mom threw us out of the door after breakfast into a 30 acre forest and told us to stay out of her way until the next mealtime. Often we packed a lunch, and did not return until supper. On rainy days we did crafts, baked, or built forts of cardboard boxes in the garage and decorated them. How many 6-10 year olds today are given that opportunity for catching snakes and frogs, wading and fishing in ponds, climbing trees, hiking and just plain wandering without a timeclock to punch? We did our best to provide a close approximation of this idyll for our own 3 kids.

  2. Another time and place that kids still get to play and have somewhat unrestricted play time is in school, in after school programs, summer camps and the like. In many cases, these types of setting are where kids are still playing traditional board games and not electronic games.

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