We live in such a target-oriented world that some parents are starting to forget how important it is for children to have some independent play-time. However, we should never forget about how paramount it is to allow our children to discover things on their own, to take control of their own acts and behaviour. Should we choose to ignore their need for independent play time, we could be seriously damaging their future mental health. As Peter Gray expresses, without play, we become emotionally crippled. Play allows us to cope with the unknown, to experiment with risk and learn to face problems. Play will help prevent anxiety and depression enabling the child to experience a sense of control about her own acts. Play is the best tool to help your child develop self-confidence.
In the TedTalk below, Dr. Peter Gray explains the need of freedom to learn. Our children's schedules shouldn't be as busy as those of the Prime Minister: they need time to play freely following their own rules and on their own terms.
Dr. Peter Gray has also written about this in a 2010 article in Psychology Today.
Remember that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.