Play is Everything
Posted on October 17th, 2016
Our children grow up fast, and what we all want is them to become happy, creative and successful people who will be able to face with smile, ease and responsibility all the challenges that life will throw their way. We’re doing everything we can for them, encouraging them to participate in sport activities and to learn foreign languages, motivate them to do better in school and to reach their full potential. Although they cannot understand that because they are still young, life is made of a variety of obligations that we take on and try to fulfil. To be able to cope with the responsibilities and tasks that life will put upon them, it is important that they begin to learn from an early age what it means to assume a duty, even a smallest one, and carry it out. That small effort will become the cornerstone of their future working habits, devotion and their success. We know that very well, but we also know that children respond poorly to the obligations, particularly those imposed on them. Why is it so?
Take, for example, the first obligation that almost every child in almost every family in the world face – to pick up toys and put them away after play. Although it seems quite naive, storing toys actually contains in itself the basis for all that awaits our children when they grow up: a responsible attitude towards studying, preparation and keeping of documentation for the company in which they will work, and even the responsibility to the future girlfriends or boyfriends or those with whom they will start a family. Therefore, it is very important for our children to successfully overcome these first challenges that we set for them. But it’s not quite as easy as it seems.
Certain parents try with commands, threats and shouting, which sometimes produces results, but the children do not respond very well when we communicate with them in that way. They might be afraid of punishment or threat, and do what is required out of fear. But that’s not good. Such a way of forcing children to fulfill their obligations is unproductive. It might result in them growing up to become people who will only perform their duties under the pressure of authority, and identify commitment with something bad imposed on them. They will not develop their own attitude towards the challenges, and any time they are left to their own devices, they’ll have no will to do anything. We must be able to perform great deeds even when there is no one around, mustn’t we?
On the other hand, some parents are more indulgent and softer than majority. They opt to appeal and to explain children how important it is for their future to put toys away after play. But children cannot understand the concept of future, or project themselves into it. Instead, they see only the present in which they are asked to do something that doesn’t suit them. Therefore, it usually happens that parents, tired from their jobs and household chores, give in to the resistance of their children and decide to pick up toys themselves. But in doing so, we do our children only a disservice. As a result of such constant lack of decisiveness in communication with our children they might grow up to become adults who do not have clearly defined boundaries and who think that it is possible to avoid any obligation, and that everything will be done by someone else. Will there be someone willing to tidy up their problems for them in 20 or 50 years from now?
The problem with the obligations is that children actually only like to play. Although this might seem to us – serious adults – as “irresponsible”, “bad” or “childish”, this feature is the best and the most valuable thing that we as a species possess. The play is as old as the human existence, and even Plato more than 2,000 years ago noted that „You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Children, in fact, gathering information about the world around them and learn from it through their play. It is crucial to their social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. And that’s what we cannot figure out, but something that children more than clearly feel: when their play gets interrupted by some order or request that comes from a “serious” adult world, they have to stop with exploring spatial relationships and all the things that surround them in that large and unfamiliar world in which they found themselves, honing their voice and motor capabilities and developing their creative thinking. Simply put, when play stops, they stop learning.
Therefore we have to provide them with games through which they will be able to develop the only right attitude towards obligations. Although the obligations are seldom funny, we need to prepare our children to look at them as challenges that will temper their spirit, as well as new games that will make their life more exciting when they grow up. Only then, the child will learn how to cope in the right way with all the wonderful and the ugly things that life might bring, with enthusiasm, curiosity and energy. Playful children become happy and successful people for whom no problem is so big that it cannot be overcome, but just a new game in which they need to do their best.
That’s why we must try to include play in all their activities and to encourage them to play even when they don’t feel like it. Smart Toybox is exactly that kind of device that can help us and our children because it can pave the way to this type of upbringing in a natural manner and completely without effort, by transforming a boring task into an incredibly funny way to develop motor, intellectual and creative skills. For the good of our children, play should become a part of each of their obligations in the way that Toybox does it. We do not want the world of apathetic and sullen people who will work only when they are forced to, and keen to avoid every intellectual effort that isn’t necessary. What we all need is a world of people who had learned in their childhood that play is everything.
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