I was catching up on the news this morning on the BBC website when I saw a very interesting article. Researchers on behalf of Ribena found that almost half of 2,000 parents that were surveyed would like help on how to play with their children, and that under a third said that they felt guilty for playing with their children instead of doing chores.
The article goes on to mention that parents admitted to buying toys or video games to keep their children entertained, and as a result only a third of children play with pots and pans or climb trees. Instead, 90% watched DVDs and 70% played video games.
I found the article to be quite disheartening, especially the statement about parents feeling guilty about not doing housework. I just don’t understand how a parent would rather wash up or do the ironing instead of playing with their child!
Ribena released a number of “play tips” with their survey, such as going on a nature trail or making instruments from objects found in the home. I think that this is fantastic advice. Practical activities are far more stimulating, inspirational and educational for children than sitting inside watching a DVD. Not to mention that re-using items in the home will save you much more money than buying expensive toys!
My advice to parents is to invest in a small amount of art and craft materials such as paint and pens, and save some boxes, cans and bottles from your recycling. Boxes can become anything from a doll’s house to a robot costume, and bottles make excellent spaceships and musical instruments! Or if the sun’s shining, find your local nature trail and plan a treasure hunt or bug hunting adventure. Then, forget the chores, loosen up and have some fun!