• Children's Center

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Why kids need to play

In a recent report, the American Academy of Pediatrics stresses the importance of letting children play. They say unstructured play allows for proper development and relieves toxic stress. Dr. Angela Mattke, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician, agrees that this type of playtime is important for good health.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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"We want them to be learning through play," says Dr. Mattke. "Unstructured play is the best way that they can learn their developmental skills. They can learn social and emotional regulation. They can learn how to relate and problem-solve with other children."

Good old-fashioned playtime not only helps children develop social skills, but also it helps with language skills and stress relief. And in a world where screens are everywhere, she says it’s important to make sure to turn them off.

"There’s a lot of different areas that too much screen time can affect the health of children. So the first one would be sleep. We see it from young children all the way up to teenagers," says Dr. Mattke.

Too much screen time is associated with being sedentary, and moving is important for good health. So turn off the TV, put down the screens, and let the children play.