[NOTE: This is the second in a series of four articles on the Playborhood Survey. See Playborhood Survey: Who Responded to read about how we solicited responses and who responded. The survey is now closed. If you’d like, you can respond to the same survey questions, for future analysis, here.]
As I wrote in a previous article, 82% of parents want their kids to play more. Their main reason by far for wanting this is that play is fun.That’s right. When parents answered why they want their children to play, “fun” won by a wide margin over all sorts of other high-minded reasons. So, while parents don’t want their girls and boys just to have fun, it’s clear from this survey that their kids’ fun is extremely important to them.
The precise question they answered was, “Rank the following reasons why it is important to you that your child(ren) play with other children in your neighborhood.” They ranked seven responses from first to seventh. The results are shown below. The numbers indicate the average ranking across all parents.
- Play is fun for children. (2.07)
- Play increases children’s social skills. (3.04)
- Play increases children’s creativity. (3.86)
- Play keeps children more physically fit. (4.03)
- Children playing in a neighborhood draws everyone (including adults) closer together. (4.18)
- Play increases children’s problem-solving skills. (4.65)
- Play increases children’s leadership skills. (5.83)
I’m intrigued and pleased that fun won so handily. You see, my mother was deeply depressed throughout my childhood, so I place a very high priority on happiness for my children. I created a video a couple of years ago that explores her lifelong struggle with depression and her miraculous recovery shortly before she died. I plan to publish this here in the near future (encourage me if you really want to see it!).
“Social skills” finishes in second place, far ahead of the third place answer. Psychotherapists agree that children who play independently from their parents learn how to deal with social situations much better than children whose lives are dominated by adult-led structured activities.
In comments, many parents noted that they consider all the reasons listed to be important. In addition, if a parent did not believe in a statement, he or she could select N/A for Not Applicable or simply skip the item rather than rank it. In fact, over 90% of parents ranked each statement.
So, clearly, the strong majority of parents believes in all these statements.