21st Century Child Labor; How We Can Give Kids Back Their Playtime

In my last posting, “Children and the 60 Hour Work Week,” I wrote about what I believe constitutes 21st century child labor:  Forcing children to engage in adult supervised or mandated activities 60 hours a week. 

I have written a number of articles on this subject but it is one thing to write about it and another to do something about it.  I invited you to join us at the World Congress of Play in actively working for solutions to a crisis in play.  The conference will take place September 8-10 but whether you attend or not you can certainly be involved by contacting us by clicking here.

In the meantime, here are some ideas about what we can do about it:

  1. Bring back recess.  Children should have at least 60 minutes a day of free play time during school hours.
  2. Arrange for neighborhood playtime after school.  Come to an agreement that you and your neighbors will let your children come home rather than attending after school activities to play.
  3. Leave children alone and let them choose what to play and how to play.
  4. If a problem occurs between the children, let them work it out
  5. Press schools to limit homework to no more than one hour per night.
  6. Do allow children to play with tablets and smart phones but also make it really attractive to go outside and play…even when it’s cold.  Small, neighborhood playgrounds within walking distance with really cool equipment would pull them to play rather than adults having to push them.
  7. Let them get hurt trying to do things that are just a little dangerous.  Bloody knees, a broken arm and a funny scar on the back of the head are the rewards of learning how to judge risk and be a smart, confident adult.
  8. Get PTA’s and other local groups active in letting school boards and the municipal government know that they want play time and lots of it for their kids.

The World Congress of Play which will take place September 8-10 in San Francisco has as one of its missions to not just talk about the crisis in play but to actually take action to win back free playtime for children.  If you would like to be involved, please contact us directly by clicking here.  



One thought

  1. This is great. It is in children’s interest, society’s interest, and especially the play industry’s interest, to make these objectives happen. I expect you will have a lot of people clicking the link to join the cause.

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