What Ever Happened To Play?

By Nancy Stoops

It is frightening how many children are brought to me each for anxiety.  When did children start taking meds for anxiety? When I was growing up I didn’t even know what that word meant.  It was play that saved me from my hard days and that was how I worked through my emotions.  It was play that was a breeding ground for my imagination.  Whether I was creating underwater adventures in my wagon or putting on shows in my back yard it was play that I always looked forward to.  I’m not talking about video games but the kind of play that actually involves getting dirty.  Being the little tomboy I always had skinned knees and elbows from performing stunts on my bicycle or skateboard.

The best part of me is the little five year old that still lives within me and the truth is she still likes getting dirty and playing.  Turn off that television and take your child to the park to play or for a hike.  Tell everybody to put down those electronics and go ride horses together as a family, set up a camp in your back yard or anything else that involves play and imagination. Play relieves stress and keeps us very young in mind body and spirit.  Stop over scheduling your children and just let them have some time to play and just be children. Did you know that more than fifty percent of all the illnesses in this country are stress related?  Teaching your child that play is wonderful is a fabulous tool for prevention of such illnesses.

I know school just started and I say make this the most balanced year for your child.  Help them find time for their school work as well as time to play.  I promise if you can facilitate this you will see a much happier, more successful and relaxed student and child.

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy is now accepting new clients.  She also works as a motivational speaker.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs.  For more information about any of these services contact Nancy at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.