Dear parents, allow children to play games

Pupils have fun playing games during break at Kisii Primary School. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

I have noted with concern parents holding their children in houses with the excuse that they want to protect them.

Children are also being tasked with the responsibility of taking care of their younger siblings. Some even think allowing their children to play would be a waste of time. This is a result of a grave misunderstanding stemming from the ignorance of how children’s behavior revolves. It limits them from spending their time playing with their peers.

It is important for parents to understand that it is through play that the gap between what children know and what they don’t know can be established. Research has also shown that it is through play that sensory learning takes place. A child’s self-esteem is boosted through peer interactions.

In their play activities, they manifest lots of learning activities. Some children will trace their gifts and talents for example in games and sports. How would this be possible if they were restricted in the confines of their homes? You cannot climb a tree unless you know how to do it.

An inadequate diet of play may have the same ill effects on mental life as does an inadequate diet on children. It can lead to mental deficiencies. Most healthy children want to play all the time and they learn a great deal of things. If a child loses interest in play, it is usually a sign of illness. I have also heard of children falling into depression; play would serve as a cheap therapy to cure this.

I feel that children should be allowed to be childish rather than being tasked with mountains of responsibilities just because they are older than their siblings. If parents want to raise happy and healthy children, let them play when they want to.

Teachers in pre-schools and also in lower classes should also give more attention to playtime rather than bombarding kids with algebraic sums and angles.

I also appeal to all teachers to feel easy playing with teenagers and overlook the perception that playing is a waste of time.

I would be so excited to see my mother and father in the field without getting to feel uneasy about it. With this, we will raise a wonderful and healthier generation.

 Risper is a Form Two student at Muruguru Girls’ High School