“Screen time” vs. Playtime

There has been a recent shift away from playtime in our culture. Educational toys in elementary classrooms have been replaced by computers, and some schools have even cut or shortened recess time. This trend is also happening at home, with the increase of computers and video games. According to the 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day in front of a screen. In other words, screen and cyber play are taken over many children’s playtime. While “play” may seem to be disappearing in some areas of a child’s life, it actually makes play therapy that much more important.

Why Play Therapy?
Despite our culture’s shift away from playtime, a growing number of noted mental health professionals have observed that play is as important to human happiness and well being as love and work (Schaefer, 1993). Some of the greatest thinkers of all time, including Aristotle and Plato, have reflected on why play is so essential in our lives. Even Freud believed that he could understand a child better by watching them play. According to Freud, “ Play is a form of free association for children, but it’s also a way of understanding how the child develops a sense of self”. The following are some of the many benefits of play that have been described by play theorists.

• Play is the child’s language and in play therapy, toys are like the child’s words.
• Play is fun, and it helps foster a connection.
• Play relieves feelings of stress, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates our      emotions, and boosts our ego.
• Play allows us to practice skills and roles needed for survival.
• Learning and development are best fostered through play.

We invite you to call or email us to talk about how we can best work with you child!

-Jodi Murphy, LCSW

Jodi Murphy, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist at Well Being Therapy Center.  Her many areas of expertise includes play therapy with young children. Jodi also works with teens, couples, individuals, and families.