Let Children Do What They Do Best - Play

With much emphasis being placed on achievement over affiliation, it has cultivated the mindset of time-is-money and created this urgency to make every moment counts. As parents, we overcompensate for the time loss due to one or both parents being away at work and hasten the pace of our children.

Malcolm Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hour rule seemed to suggest that our children ought to be sent for academic or enrichment classes and organized sports training at tender age in order to get a good head start in life. The other day, I saw this 4-year-old boy at his athletics’ training but he is too short that he can barely jump over the hurdles. And he ended up knocking down every single hurdle as he completed the circuit. Thankfully, the boy and his parent knew very well his abilities and seemed to take it lightly. In the worst case scenario, this failure to “achieve” could have bruised his confidence and had lasting effect on his willingness to try.

Parents are so preoccupied in getting our children involve in structured, repetitive learning without realizing that deliberate practice may only makes perfect but does not create. Kids can only be truly creative if they play by their own rules, and have the time and space to make discoveries. Mental downtime, through day-dreaming, exploring the outdoors or child-led playing is essential for creative incubation, memory consolidation, cognitive and emotional development.

At the end of the day, our children are not going to remember the moments that you sat down with them to go through their homework. But they are definitely going to remember the moments that you played together and the knowledge that they learnt through play.

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