Today’s fast paced world is placing increasing stress upon children to cope with many things that were not part of a child’s world in generations gone by. Children have not historically been asked to embrace technology, use multiple communications tools by first grade, and deal with a constant onslaught of information, news, and data. This shift in the life of the child has resulted in many more children suffering from anxiety.
Today’s child does not get hours of free play in the outdoors. That time playing in the yard, climbing trees, and playing hide and seek around the house provided children with emotional release, rich sensory stimulation, and motor movement. The freedom and experience of playing outdoors is one way children can vent frustration and reduce anxiety. Sitting in front of a television or computer screen provides much less sensory stimulation, with a primary focus on visual and auditory input. Plus, the screen on the television, hand held devices, and computers all give off flashing lights, which can trigger even more anxiety and stress in children. After all, humans know that flashing lights are associated with ambulances and police vehicles.
Even when children are not able to run and play in the yard, they are able to get more of that quiet and restorative experience by engaging in creative arts. Painting, sculpting (like Play Dough), coloring, and sketching are all excellent ways that today’s child can still explore, relax, and enjoy rich sensory input.