Doctors are prescribing playing for child health

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
News 12 This Morning

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Parents may be busier these days than in years past, but experts say all work with no play isn't good for anyone.

Let's take it back to our childhood. Remember just hanging out and playing pretend? Well, it turns out that playtime really was important for our development.

Pre-K instructor, Irma Turner told News 12 how this side time affects her students.

"They're more excited when that door opens and they see the outside. They're more excited when they can run around and jump, scream, holler, and do those things," said Turner.

Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Georgia say something as simple as playing can teach valuable life skills. Turner says she agrees and gets to witness it every day.

"It makes it easier because me watching them play, and sometimes I interact with them too because it helps me to exert some of my energy. So it makes it easier if we are all out getting the energy out," says Turner.

Now, there's a name for this time of play. Experts call it 'prescriptive playing'. They say it's mandatory for a healthy childhood

"It helps them to relieve energy, to just run around and release some of that built up energy within which is very important."

The American Academy of Pediatrics says it's so important that they've broken it down into four categories - object, physical, outdoor, and social playing.

Turner says each category is equally important.

"They develop language skills, emotions, social, creativity, like imaginary play. My kids were just playing imaginary play; they had their houses. So it helps the kids develop to go on and advance to the next level of learning."

Experts say this play time isn't limited to kids. Parents, you should set some time aside for playing too. When children see their parents taking time out for the things they enjoy, it teaches them to do the same.