Sat | Aug 24, 2019

Get kids off their backsides to play

Published:Tuesday | September 4, 2018 | 12:00 AM


I believe the obesity crisis we face in Jamaica does not need any research or study to solve. Gone are the days when children are outside playing. Parents are to blame to a large extent, as they have given up their role as leaders, and children have been left to be mentored by the cartoons on television or cable.

Back in the day parents would tell children, "Yuh ramp too much" or "Yuh soon ramp out yuh sense." I wish to say to them, "Ramp can't too much!"

Today, parents are wishing for a cure to the obesity problem which they themselves created. Snacks/sugar in moderation will do no harm if parents make time for their children to do physical play. As a paediatric nurse, I strongly advocate and encourage play.

Playing helps children to grow and develop. That's how they learn. They practise what they see, explore new things, and make sense of these things.

The following are some of the skills a child learns, develops, and strengthens through play:

- Coping skills - how to deal with different situations.

- Limits - what he can/can't do.

- Problem-solving techniques - trial and error.

- Sharing.

- Making mistakes - and knowing that it's okay to make them!

- Imagination, creativity, self-direction and independence.

- Enabling development of their personalities.

These are all skills that a person uses in his/her everyday life as an adult. We learn and perfect these skills as children through our play. Without the opportunity for unstructured, uninterrupted play, our society would not function when these children reach adulthood. (

Parents, there is a place for cartoons, video games, phones and tablets, but for heaven's sake, bring the children outside to play.