Let your kids play freely: Experts

No restrictions

Parents who restrict unstructured play can increase the risk of depression in their children, who may even develop suicidal tendencies.

Such parents - branded “hovering helicopters” by researchers — prevent their children from playing outside, where they might build dens, climb trees or explore the countryside, Daily Express reported.

The American Journal of Play asked a group of experts to investigate the near-extinction of free play and its effects on children and society.

They said that without free outdoor play, children are prone to obesity, poor physical health and are unable to develop social skills.

Peter Gray, professor of psychology at Boston College, said: “Over the last 50 years opportunities for children to play freely have declined dramatically in the United States and other developed nations.

Serious consequences

“That decline continues, with serious negative consequences for children’s physical, mental, and social development.”

While calling for restoration of free play, Gray says there is a clear correlation between its decline and the rise of depression, suicide and narcissism among children.

He also recommends mixed-age play, stating it is also beneficial. Older children were able to teach younger ones new skills, while also learning themselves, he says.

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