Monday, March 18, 2013


This is Noah at 1 year and 8 months -- playing soccer on our street.

Yes, I let Noah play on our street. I have always been a believer in the importance of play in a child's development.

Just recently, Noah was playing outside with my niece Makki. When our neighbor Sophie went out to play with them, he came running into the house crying. Turns out, the girls didn't want to play basketball with him and instead, wanted to play badminton. After processing the situation with him - how he wanted to play a game they didn't like and how they wanted to play a game he didn't like, I sent him back out to deal with the problem. He suggested they take turns playing basketball, then badminton (syempre, una pa rin yung gusto niya!). But the girls didn't want to because they said there wouldn't be time to play both games (they only had a few minutes left before dark). So they ended up choosing a game they all wanted to play: this tag game these days called Ice Ice Water.

Aside from the physical skills the active games inevitably taught them, that day's playtime drama taught them essential character-building skills like problem-solving, compromise, conflict-resolution and frustration-tolerance.

It is no wonder then that reputable entities like Johnson & Johnson, Play Pilipinas and DepEd have banded together in the campaign 'Di Lang Laro Ang Laro (Playtime is not just a pasttime), which advocates the importance of 1 hour of daily active play in children's health and holistic development.

I love that this campaign reminds me of what's important. Because with all the academic pressure in schools these days, it's easy for parents to fall into the trap of thinking playtime is just a pasttime.

Even I was guilty of this recently. I was out doing errands and arrived home a couple of hours after Noah got home. I came home to so much homework and very little time to do it. Frustrated, I asked Noah what he did the whole time since he got home. And when Noah said he played outside, I -- the supposed advocate of play -- found myself scolding Noah for playing. Yes, it is easy to dismiss play as just play.

So I am grateful to the Di Lang Laro Ang Laro advocacy of Johnson & Johnson, Play Pilipinas and DepEd. It is important for every parent to be educated that play is as important as everything else on their kid's daily to-do list: Play is just as important as eating, sleeping and studying. So let's all put PLAY on our kids' daily to-do list. Let's include 1 hour of play every day on our children's schedules.

Noah actually put playing with his cousin on his to-do list (I put red checks so you can easily spot this task on his list).

Now, my job is making sure its box gets ticked every day.

'Di Lang Laro Ang Laro. Add 1 hour of play every day on your child's to-do list too!

Photos are my own, from nyctaughtme and courtesy of Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Johnson's Baby Cooling BathJohnson's Baby Prickly Heat Powder, Johnson's Baby Daily Sun Protection Lotion and Johnson's Baby Happy Berries Cologne -- my personal picks to keep Noah cool, refreshed and protected from the discomforts of playing under the sun. With these products, I can make sure Noah can play outdoors at least 1 hour every day without me having to worry about the hot, sticky feeling, prickly heat, sun damage or stinky smell from playing under the sun

Watch out tomorrow for the down-in-the-dots version of this post.

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