Report Recommends That Pediatricians Prescribe Play Time for Children

A new policy report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending that children’s doctors prescribe play time for their young patients during well visits, saying that play time is being squeezed out as schools and parents focus on academic achievement and activities at the expense of kids have free time to just play. The AAP report says that children’s playtime decreased by 25 percent from 1981 to 1997, and a national survey found that only 51 percent of preschool children went outside to walk or play once each day with either parent. It also said that 30 percent of kindergarten children in the US. no longer have recess. Pointing to these changes, the report said, “Play is not frivolous,” citing research that shows, among other things, that it helps children develop language and executive functioning skills, learn to negotiate with others and manage stress, and figure out how to go after their goals while ignoring distractions.