The New York Times recently published an opinion piece tying the rise in suicide rates for children to the over-emphasis of structured activities, in school and out. With no breaks, or spaces, for free play with other kids, children haven't developed the resilience and social skills they need.
"...for many children, when the school day is over, it hardly matters; the hours outside school are more like school than ever. Children spend afternoons, weekends and summers in aftercare and camps while their parents work. The areas where children once congregated for unstructured, unsupervised play are now often off limits. And so those who can afford it drive their children from one structured activity to another. Those who can’t keep them inside. Free play and childhood independence have become relics, insurance risks, at times criminal offenses."
Yet like water and sunshine, good food and a warm bed, play
is essential to for every person, especially children. Parents are on the front lines of this fight. Let's prioritize play!