Should Playtime Be Controlled?

A grandparent posted a comment on one of my social media channels. She said, "My dear grandchildren earn their toys and playtime and screen time with tickets. X number required for X activity or toy. Tickets taken away for sass or disobedience. Works like a charm. Helps kids learn to police themselves."

My response to her was this: "I'm delighted to hear that you found something that works for you with managing screen time, good for you. Screen time should be kept to no more that 30 - 60 mins. per day for young children. I am concerned however, that you are controlling healthy playtime. It is my opinion that playtime should be given automatically to children, as is oxygen and healthy food. Healthy, non screentime play is critical to a child's development and should not be controlled or withheld. Toys on the other hand, must be controlled because many children have too many. Too many toys can lead to anxiety and chaos."

"My children could only keep the number of large, easy to pick up toys, that could fit in a moderate size toybox in the playroom (not their bedroom). All others that did not fit were donated or thrown away. When they received new toys for birthdays or Christmas, they had to pick some toys to donate to a local charity. Any toys with many and/or small pieces were kept high on a shelf and my child had to ask permission to play with one of those. They did not get to have another one of these "many pieces" toys (Legos, hot wheels, army men, little pet sets, etc.) until the one they were playing with was picked up and put away."

What are your thoughts?


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