May 2013 Issue, Singapore's Child
It may be contradictory to the norm, but giving them time to play can actually be helpful in enabling children to focus while they study.
Professor Stevan Hobfoll’s Conservation of Resources Theory states that human beings aim to conserve and accumulate resources. Thus stress is experienced by us when: There is a threat to our resources; We experience failure to obtain resources after hoping to gain them and; We lose resources. For children, this precious resource that they are driven to protect is play time. In a similar way, for most adults their key resource is money.
Thus in the following scenarios, stress is experienced: When there are threats to our stores of money; when we are unable to obtain money after having put in much effort and; when there is an actual loss of money. This is the same feeling children feel when their play time is lost or threatened despite their best efforts.
No Play, No Focus
The same Conservation of Resources Theory also posits that people who lack resources will be insecure. Therefore, they will tend to adopt a defensive posture vis-à-vis their resources. In other words, if you have very little money, you would feel insecure. As a result, you would tend to be stingy with it and possibly grasping even at the opportunity to pick up 50 cents out of a smelly drain.
Unfortunately, many Singaporean children lack play time. As a result, they adopt a defensive posture vis-à-vis play time. They grasp play time whenever they can, and at every opportunity. Thus often when you leave the room, the child will pick up a pencil and pretend it is a rocket. When your back is turned, the child will start stacking stationery into a tower and imagine an astronaut on top of it. If all else fails, the child turns to daydreaming. He lives in his head precious moments of play time he does not have and seems to have no hope of gaining.
The rest of this article is in the May Issue of Singapore's Child.