This school holidays, make a plan for mucking about

Playground equipment is no longer safe, organised sport is out, movies are closed and fast food outlets are reduced to drive throughs. There will be less tolerance of children being outdoor and in public places on their own. Plus parents are likely to feel increased concern and guilt about allowing their children too much screen time. For some kids, the next two weeks will be a difficult time. For many, having less regulation over their time and activities will be distressing and anxiety producing, rather than the relaxing, playful time it could or should be.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

For kids, the things they ‘do’ form a core part of their identity. Reframing the situation is therefore essential, and this starts with acknowledging impact.

Talk to children and young people about what the restrictions mean to them. Listen to what they say, and acknowledge their frustrations. Point out the positives too. A break from routine, a chance to do some new things, and to perhaps have more family time to do some of the same things differently — like camping in the backyard at home over Easter, for example.

Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

Play, mucking about, chilling with friends, hanging out — whatever it’s called — is not only a child’s right, it is an essential activity for their health, wellbeing, learning and overall development.

Play is not just a way to pass the time. Play allows kids to engage in activities that are enjoyable, spontaneous, expressive, and of their own choosing; based on their own interests and ideas. Play makes them feel good about themselves and their lives.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Helen Connolly is South Australia’s inaugural Commissioner for C&YP. Her work ensures their opinions and ideas are being sought and that their voices are heard.

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