Are our preteens / teens too old to play? Though playtime looks different to the older child it still plays a significant part of their learning experiences.

We are very comfortable with the idea that our toddlers need to play but once our children get older we start to ply them with structured activity. We fill their days with sport and club commitments which limit their time to play. We justify it with wondering if they are really too old to play anyway.

The dictionary defines play as activities done for recreation and amusement. We all need to relax and have a life outside of work – remembering that work for our children includes their academic pursuits.

As children grow older there is a change in how they play. Initially toddlers play along side of other toddlers, often with the only interaction happening when two kids want the same toy! It was always a delight to me to see them grow and start to play with their playmates. As the teen years approached I started to see a difference between the boys and the girls in their play time activities. Boys get physical, girls get verbal. Without any boundaries both these tendencies will lead to idleness and trouble.

This is why we have established a principle of using our time wisely in our home. We have an understanding that regardless of what we choose to do with our time we can still relax and enjoy ourselves, though at no time do we have the freedom to do something that will cause us to sin. Admittedly, there are times that we just want to sit and talk, or play rough and tumble but there needs to be balance.

I believe the modern concept of just hangin’ leads to idle hands and idle lips. The scriptures talk about the foolishness of both.

When the owner is lazy, the roof sags;
when hands are idle, the house leaks. – Ec 10:18

This scripture has been one of the verses we have discussed when teaching our children to use their time wisely. The kids don’t “own a house” so what is the lesson? The house is them, their life. When they are lazy, when behaviour or choices get sloppy, hands are idle (lazy, nothing to do etc) then the house (their being, life, behaviour, them…) starts to leak, fall apart.

Examples of things falling apart would be inappropriate choices, unwise words, unkind actions, silliness, lack of self-control.

In my article Benefits of Play I looked at the educational value in playing and I still hold this to be true in older children as well. The only thing that looks different is the actual activities.

Physical activity, mental activity, hobbies, interests, fun relational time all is play for the older child. The older child will still learn relational skills, interface with responsibilities, grow in themselves, and discover knowledge when they are using their free time wisely.

I have often wondered about the wisdom of giving the title “Free Time” to our children. For some reason it stirs within the older child a sense of expectation, of their right to spend their time regardless of any boundaries. In recent years, I have adopted the term “Productive Free Time” and in using these words it turns the children’s hearts towards using their time wisely – even when it is totally their choice of activity.

Many times when our older children have play-dates (so to speak), they plan before hand how they are going to spend their time. The boys have been bushwalking, exploring, play cricket whereas the girls have turned towards creative pursuits such as beading, fimo-clay, or sewing. It is always a delight to walk into a room full of preteens and teens and hear them chatting away, enjoying each other’s company but not being silly.

Our kids are never too old to play – it just looks different.

Be Intentional

 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

Thank you for joining me. You have successfully subscribed and will receive an email from me shortly. (You never know which folder emails will land in so keep an eye out for my "Thank you" email.) Stay in touch... Belinda - Live life with your Kids!

Download your worksheet and start working on your family vision statement.

Get the Family Vision Worksheet

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Individual Education Planning Worksheets - brainstorming every area of your child's life.

Get your Planning Worksheets

I will email you the download link so you can start looking at all the different spheres of your child's life before you make any curriculum choices. 

The download link is on it's way.

Get a copy of the Jelly Bean Story

I will email you a download link.  You can print and share this story with your kids and their friends.

The download link is on it's way.

This parent guide helps parents plan family bible study and use discussion techniques to teach the important lessons.

Bible study Guide for Parents

Guide includes tips, planning worksheet, and discussion prompts. I will email you a download link.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Obedience looks a bit different as our kids grow older. Download this parent/teen discussion guide to understand this issue of obedience in teen years.

Download your Free Discussion Guide

Don't assume your kids are rebelling - instead talk to them about what Obedience looks like now they are older.  I will email you a download link.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download yourCharacter Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download your Character Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

The download link is on it's way.

Over 20 different verbal expressions divided into heart or self control to help parents discern these behaviours.

Download your Cheat Sheet

I will send you the link to download this cheat sheet that will help you discern between a heart attitude and a lack of skill.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

 

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Our children hear different words when we react to when we respond. Do your children hear blah blah blah when you correct them? Includes a parenting poster.

Download Parenting Poster

 

When we Respond instead of React we find a way to deal with the heart not just behaviour.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Pin It on Pinterest