We deprive children of the opportunity to discover themselves and the world

07 April 2021

In the book Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that we must entrust children to direct their own learning and development. These children will thrive in today's constantly changing world.

Let your kids muddle on
Busy busy busy. Today's children have a lot of homework and the rest of the week is often filled with scheduled play dates, sports and a club here and there. In addition, children often prefer to play indoors, especially behind screens. On weekends, family outings are scheduled. The week is so jam-packed.

Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology and history, Peter Gray shows that free play is the primary means by which children learn to master their lives, solve problems, interact with peers and become emotionally resilient.
Through play, children learn to come up with their own solutions, negotiate and process emotions. They learn to manage themselves and become more independent. Learning to save yourself and solve things at a young age gives self-confidence, for now and later.

Ravelling and outdoor play
Also, give children time to run freely with friends, romp and make mischief. When given space, children develop creativity and imagination. They learn to cooperate and push boundaries. And no worries, kids do get corrected by their peers when they are being unfair or trying to boss things around. Parents don't have to be there. With real free play, children develop their inner compass. Experiencing adventures makes children happy. The smartwatch for kids that has a GPS function on it allows children to play outside independently. As a parent, you can still keep an eye on where your child is because there is GPS on the smartwatch.

Outdoor play and parental control

20% of children ages 6 to 12 play outside every day.

22% of children never play outside or at most once a week.

19% of children play outside less than they would like. They are more often from urban areas. Urban children are also more likely to report that they cannot get to fun places to play because their parents do not allow them to or because they cannot go there themselves.

34 percent of children ages 6 to 8 are not allowed to play outside or only occasionally without adult supervision. Among children ages 9 to 12, the figure is 11 percent.

29 percent of children are not allowed to walk to school alone. Among 6-8 year olds, only 25 percent of children are always allowed to walk to school alone.

(Source: Title * professor of pedagogy Sieneke Goorhuis and Jantje Beton)