Go outside and play

2017-01-12 11:20
Levi and Tyrel Marimuthu playing outside. ‘Are we parents to blame for this generation of children who don’t see play therapy as an integral part of life?’

Levi and Tyrel Marimuthu playing outside. ‘Are we parents to blame for this generation of children who don’t see play therapy as an integral part of life?’ (Supplied)

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I have so many fond memories of my childhood. As a youngster, I hated the rain because that meant staying indoors. Irrespective of the seasons, we played outside all the time. I loved weekends and holidays as this meant we played outside from dawn to dusk. Play was my priority, food and bathing came second. During school hours I eagerly waited for lunch breaks to run around like a tom boy rather than being a Barbie girl.

In school, I participated in every sport which was offered. Athletics was my forte. I took first place in long jump, high jump, 80, 100 and 200 metres every year from Grade 1 up until Grade 7. In Grade 7, I was awarded the sports girl of the year award. I also represented the school in netball and volleyball.

After school I would run home to play with the children from the neighbourhood which consisted of about 10 children. Hide and go seek, marbles, rounders, tennis, soccer and cricket were some of our usual games. A memory that I can’t forget was when I was about 10 or 11 years old and my daily chore was to buy bread. I usually took my favourite route which was through a field because of the swings that we played on.

We played on the swings either before or after going to the shop. On this particular day, I decided to keep my R2 coin in my mouth rather than holding it in my hand while swinging. My neighbour and I were competing who could go the highest and jump off while swinging. As I tried to touch the sky, I realised that the coin had passed down my oesophagus and into my stomach. I tried to get off the swing with as limited movements as possible because I didn’t want the coin to visit anywhere else. I went straight to the bathroom to regurgitate. My only fear was that my mother would kill me because there was no bread and I didn’t have another R2 coin to replace.

Yes, my plan had worked. I rinsed the coin then went straight to buy bread and straight after that back to the swings. I wasn’t fazed at all that I could have died and I wasn’t gripped by fear of going back on the swings, but the lesson that I had learnt was not to put money in my mouth.

Play therapy was a vital part of my life. Now I sit back and wonder what has changed. Are we parents to blame for this generation of children who don’t see play therapy as an integral part of life? Almost every newspaper, magazine or talk show will discuss the disease which is taking over KwaZulu-Natal which is diabetes. Is it that we allow our kids to live this unhealthy lifestyle of eating junk and fast foods the cause or is it the lack of physical activities that is contributing to our children being obese and prone to diabetes? Or is technology like the Xbox, PSP, PS4, tablets, cellphones and computers replacing outdoor activities? Or is it safer nowadays for children to stay indoors away from predators lurking and waiting to take the innocence of the children away? I don’t know the answer, do you?

About the author:

Lee-Ann Marimuthu is married with children.

She is currently working in a paediatric department. She has been working with children for the past 13 years and that’s her passion. The greatest part of her job is seeing a child fully recovered from his or her illness. She loves to see children being active and enjoying their childhood to the fullest. Her hobbies are spending time with her family and going on holidays.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  true stories of kzn 2016

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