You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Let’s Play study: Kids stop playing at age 9


A new study from the folks at Let’s Play reveals that once kids hit age 9, they stop playing as often. The survey asked parents if their children play every single day: 65 percent said their 3-year-olds do, 50 percent for 4-year-olds, 56 percent for 5-year-olds, 55 percent for 6-year-olds, 61 percent for 7-year-olds and 56 percent for 8-year-olds. And then it gets interesting. Only 26 percent of parents of 9-year-olds say their children play every day.

Let’s Play is from the folks at Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which partner with nonprofit organizations KaBoom! and Good Sports to build playgrounds and provide grants for sports equipment to make more play possible. The survey of 1,002 adults with at least one child was conducted in April by telephone.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children participate in 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Of the parents surveyed, 75 percent believe that their children are playing enough every day, yet only 41 percent said their children were participating in active play every day.

So, what happens at age 9?

A couple of factors, says kids fitness expert Steve Ettinger. As kids get older, school demands go up, as well as the use of technology. They become less likely to participate in free play or want to go outside.

Regular play also becomes less accessible. Instead, as they transition into middle school, play goes from recess and outside time after school to organized sports and groups. If you’re not interested in those, you might stop playing.

Parents surveyed identified what the barriers to play were for their children: 65 percent said it was the kids’ preference to play with technology instead; 56 percent said busy schedules; 62 percent said cost of equipment and participation; 37 percent said there was a lack of safe equipment or play spaces; and 31 percent said their child doesn’t enjoy playing.

Parents — some 70 percent — said they wished they had more time to play with their children. And that’s key. “Family and parents are a huge part of play continuing,” Ettinger says.

He encourages parents to model play, as well do it with their children. That means playing together by getting out the soccer ball, throwing the Frisbee or playing a rousing game of tag. It means creating family time around being active instead of TV watching.

Those middle-school and high-school years can be difficult for parents to get children to do anything. Ettinger encourages parents to team up with the parents of their children’s friends to get them involved in a group activity together. It has to become a social thing, Ettinger says.

For the kids who don’t want to do anything, keep trying new things. They might not want to do a team sport, but they might be happy doing yoga, riding a bike or lifting weights.

Play has a huge benefit, he says. He lists physical, social and emotional benefits, as well as better focus and better sleep.

“Play gets kind of a back seat sometimes,” he says. “But the way it effects school … it helps them to really focus.”

Even if it’s just a short period of time, play helps kids have more energy and be able to focus on homework.

Often kids feel that they have way too much homework to play, but Ettinger says that if they can stop worrying about the amount of work and go for a walk down the street or do 10 minutes of yoga, they will find they are able to focus better and the homework won’t feel insurmountable.

“Most kids … once they start doing it and feel better, they get hooked,” he says.

Letsplay.com has many ideas on how to play. You also can get the Choose Healthier app from It’s Time Texas that offers local activities to try.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

Austin teen heads back to school after New Year’s Day heart transplant
Austin teen heads back to school after New Year’s Day heart transplant

On Monday, 13-year-old Rome Henderson walked into her middle school for the first time since December. It was a milestone that seemed impossible at the end of 2016. Rome was admitted into Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas on Dec. 11. She was having chest pains and difficulty breathing. She was nauseated and didn’t want to...
Free garden supplies? Yes, at Austin Recycle and Reuse Drop-Off Center
Free garden supplies? Yes, at Austin Recycle and Reuse Drop-Off Center

As they prepare to dig into the dirt, budget-conscious gardeners might consider a trip to the city of Austin’s Recycle and Reuse Drop-Off Center. The center, near Ben White Boulevard at 2514 Business Center Drive, has a variety of items that gardeners might find useful. And the price is perfect: nothing. “People are always very excited...
Find your truth in your heart
Find your truth in your heart

A long time ago, say 1964, across America there were four big magazines, Time, Look, Life and Saturday Evening Post. There were three television channels, and in Dallas, where I grew up, there were three radio stations. We got what we knew from these reliable sources. Some of us also read the New York Times and the Dallas Morning News. And that was...
Another batch of triplet adventure from Austin author Jennifer Ziegler
Another batch of triplet adventure from Austin author Jennifer Ziegler

Darby, Delaney and Dawn are having a devil of a time. The smart, spunky triplets have been dispatched to the campground at Lake Lewis with their aunt for three weeks’ worth of outdoor fun. But so far, Dawn has been dunked in creek water and been bitten by fire ants. Even worse, the triplets may have met their camping match — a trio of brothers...
Shop local for Mother’s Day with Olive + M beauty line
Shop local for Mother’s Day with Olive + M beauty line

Local natural product line Olive + M is offering these items for Mother’s Day. • Olive + M’s new Eye Serum, $52, reduces fine lines and nourishes under the eyes.. • Olive + M’s new Body Polish, $42, -can be used in the tub for more hydration. • Olive + M’s cleansing oil, $62, is a cold-pressed plant based oils...
More Stories