'Do your homework then you can go to play', is this something you must have definitely gone through. Ever since our childhood, we have been taught to prioritize 'homework' over everything.Have we ever paid attention to such a simple demand that our parents placed on us?
Using sports as a leverage is wrong. It brings out a meaning that it's not as important as 'homework', which is not true. It' is through sports that one learns hard work, resilience, patience, team spirit, leadership qualities. It helps us build a competitive lifestyle. The key is for parents to find a balance between these two realms of work and play because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We don't want our Jack to be dull, do we?
'Play' here means any extra curricular activity should be given equal importance as academic work such as dance, music, art, theatre, etc. I can vouch for the fact that these subjects are not waste, they teach a child basic life skills which can't be gained through bookish knowledge.
It would be wrong to say that these extra-curricular activities are enough for proper education but at the same time, it would be wrong to completely neglect them and say that books are enough. A balance between books and play must be given priority. Teachers curb creativity in order to reach the academics target assigned to them. It's the responsibility of a teacher to nurture creativity in the education system as well. Even academically, studies show that a child will understand concepts better if it involves play and makes learning fun by handing over control, content, intent, and power to them.
Benefits of work-play balance
- Better perspective
- Relaxed mind
- Better focus and concentration
- Interest restored
- Better social skills by interacting with peers
- Learning culture by observation
- Voluntary self-interested learning
- Conflict resolution and cooperation with peers
- Developing a positive outlook to learning if it's fun
- Motor skills development
- Building self-language by talking to their own self for better expression of emotions
- Developing self-concept every time the child succeeds in fulfilling a certain task entirely on its own
Too much pressure during exams leads to impairment in learning. If a child grinds himself studying the whole day, he is more likely to get bored and lose interest, his or her mind won't be able to grab on concepts easily. It leads to mental exhaustion. The number of students committing suicide has increased in the recent times due to the intolerable academic pressure. Many other suffer from depression and anxiety disorders because of the same reason. As the child enters higher education, the situation worsens. The pressure to build a career and choose a stream wisely enhances, the students are put into a do-or-die situation to attain marks and crack high university cutoffs.
How to overcome this problem?
'Mens sana in corpore sano' is a Latin phrase, usually translated as "a healthy mind in a healthy body". One cannot develop one’s mind properly without an adequate development of the physical body. The development of both body and mind must go hand in hand. A bookworm who does well in exams may not necessarily be equipped to cope well with the challenges life offers. Therefore, a balance between mental and physical health must be maintained for a happy life.
How to attain this balance?
- Allow the student to explore his or her areas of interest such as dancing, music, art, games, etc. and encourage them to spend time on it adequately when they wish to.
- Don't pressurize the child into studying all the time, give him opportunities to explore other domains. Be sure to give your child the idea that life does not revolve around grades.
- Let the child make decisions for himself over planning time for work and play. He will learn how to prioritize.
- Motivate your child to go out and play in the evening. Many children choose to stay home and play video games but it's still not healthy. Going out enables better growth and blood circulation.
- Inculcate the habit of meditation so that the child gains mental peace while relaxing. It also helps the child to concentrate better on the work in hand.
- Children learn from playing. Don't inhibit them. They develop social skills and the ability to empathize with other people by building healthy interpersonal relationships.
- Longer recess time makes the child more attentive to classes and less fidgety.
There is an evolutionary 'practice theory of play' which focuses on how mammals play in order to survive and reproduce. For them, that is learning. It's natural selection tendency for young ones to learn from playing. This theory has been expanded to humans also and it was seen that children who learn from playing not only develop basic skills but also incorporate their culture into it. They learn by observing instead of being spoon fed.
How are working people impacted?
Looking at this beyond a student perspective, such children grow up to be workaholic in nature, prone to high levels of stress and anxiety. In a global survey by Travel India Expedia, it was seen that Indians work 42 hours in a 5-day span of the week which is 2 hours more than conventional 40 hours work rule. It might not seem too much of work now but it has also been seen that working extra not only leads to burnout and health problems but also decreased productivity. Most people cancel their vacations, work extra hours, stay connected to office work even when they are at home by checking emails and attending work related phone calls. This Work - life balance has always been overlooked, it's disrupting our physical and mental health. This leads to chronic fatigue syndrome which can cause short-term memory impairment, headaches, sleep disturbance, impaired cognitive abilities, ruin interpersonal relationships and difficulty in focusing.
When asked about why people overwork, it was seen that employees wanted to be in the good books of the boss. Earlier, people who worked for more hours were appreciated for being more dedicated and prioritizing work, it is in the contemporary period when people have acknowledged how overworking does more harm than good.
Only if we begin changing childhood education system that we can be mentally healthy in the later years of life. Many schools have started initiating play programs for longer than the conventional period of times indicating the prevalence of play as much as work. It is a cumulative effect that can't form one side alone, parents, teachers, and school have to contribute equally.