The Importance Of Playtime For Your Kids

By KBJR News 1

The Importance Of Playtime For Your Kids

November 30, 2010 Updated Nov 30, 2010 at 6:56 PM CDT

Everybody needs a little playtime, according to new research from the University of Tennessee.

Play may, in fact, make for a life worth living, they say.

So what about kids, who often are often-scheduled and over-stressed?
Barbara Reyelts has the story for Connect with Kids.

Tessa spends five-days a week, four hours a day after school at gymnastics class.

"By the time I get home, it's like 8 or so and I eat and do my homework and take a shower and talk to my parents about how the day's gone and then I go to bed."

Experts say kids like Tessa could benefit from scheduling in free time.

"Almost by definition a 'schedule of free time' sounds kind of paradoxical to all of us, but I do think planning for free time or for down time is very, very important for children."

She says along with creative play, spending time with family and friends, free time provides moments away from competition.

"With all these activities and schoolwork, there's tremendous pressure to perform, often to compete, to excel and that leisure time and free time doesn't have those demands."

On the other hand, she says, some kids don't handle free-time very well.

Something Tessa discovered last year when she decided to take a break.

"I didn't like it as much as being in gymnastics, even though I had time."

Experts say let your children choose their after school activities, choose how busy they want to be but watch for signs of burnout.

"They will tell you whether it's through words or tears- or they'll say when are we going again or they'll start screaming when you say it's time to go.