Why is it so difficult for our children to play freely?

One of the first big steps towards the alternate universe is often cleaning the playroom. We read an article or a book that told us why non-interactive toys are important, so we put anything that has batteries in a bag. We are ready for another level: free play. We've all heard of it and probably all experienced it in our childhood. It is the emblem of youth: this image of the child who invents an imaginary world with everything and nothing. It seems simple: we remove the battery-powered toys, we move the screens away and we observe our little one facing the beautifulGrimm's rainbow that he was offered…

And he looks at us. He seems bored. He is looking for his bearings. We offer one game, then another. We become the involuntary animator of our child. And one day, we find ourselves faced with reality: our child does not know how to play freely. We obviously ask ourselves questions, we wonder if we should go back. Okay, of course, we think all these wooden toys look great, but our child might not be made for that. Other people's children seem so calm, so playful compared to our own.

What if it was a matter of generations Can free-play toys still interest children in a world where they can be offered more advanced toys than ever before?s?

I don't have all the answers, but I want to share some of my thinking with you. In fact, several authors address this subject in their books, because it is an issue that many parents face.

  1. Automation of adult tasks

This answer might surprise you, but adults are taking less and less tangible actions, easily imitated. Much of the imagination of children is rooted in what they witness: Imitating washing dishes, preparing meals, baking bread, gardening, grocery shopping In a world where there are solutions to simplify their life, children can have adults too available! Playing with his child is great, but the child enjoys playing while we are busy near him, ideally at a concrete and imitable task. We can then refuse to play with him by declining a proposal: Well, I am doing the dishes, would you like to help me by wiping or rather play with your dolls next to me or by soliciting his imagination I am a mother bear who washes the dishes, and you, who are you. tu? ».

2. The habit of being stimulated at all times

It is a reflex more and more present in new parents: we are afraid that our children will be bored. We cover our newborns with accessories to keep them occupied and stimulated. We choose toys that make light and sound to attract their attention. Often, very early on, children have organized activities, guided games. The solution to this cause Time. We accept to see boredom in our children. We reduce the amount of stimulus offered, the number of toys in the playroom. The goal is quite simple: for them to gain access to their imaginary world. When boredom ends, they find an idea, which they then reinvent the world.

3. Most toys come with an intended use

When we buy a toy, without realizing it, we often buy a limited number of shares for our child. Indeed, the game provides that if the child presses the button, there is music. Always the same, always the same volume, whether the child is typing louder or softer. Even in toys without batteries, there is often an intended use, such as buying the action figures from the popular show as long as our child is listening. It feels like it's an invitation to the imagination, but in most cases the child will get caught up in the planned scenario. He knows that the characters are expected to be like this or that, do this or that, and he will go unnoticed in this setting. Several toys can impose constraints, intentionally or not. That they have an intended use is not necessarily a problem. This type of toy can be part of our child's playroom in moderation. What can become more of a problem is when our child gets used to doing what is planned.

One of the reasons children do not play freely is that they do not know that they have the right, that they do not know the range of possibilities since they have always had toys including the right one. how to use them was very clear. When they find themselves in front of a neutral object, they have no landmarks. They sometimes need our support to find out what to do with this freedom offered by free-play toys.

Can free-play toys still interest children in a world where they can be offered more advanced toys than ever before?

I sincerely believe so, and besides I believe they need it more than ever. In the midst of their sometimes overloaded schedules, stimuli from everywhere, they need this privileged time filled with And if I were one and We pretend or time to play in the sand with a stick, to be a just child.ement.

Signed Five minutes to play - Zoé L. Sirois

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