Kids should be allowed to play war games with fake guns and bring toy weapons to school because it helps their social and academic development, says Queensland researcher Jennifer Hart.
University of the Sunshine Coast associate lecturer in early childhood education Jennifer Hart said parents should not be scared their children will grow up to be “serial killers” if they engage in rough play.
Dr Hart said banning rough play and play fighting was unnecessary. “Research demonstrates playful aggression within early childhood programs is beneficial, yet it is typically discouraged by parents and teachers because it is interpreted to be inappropriate or dangerous,” she said.
She said the activities help children develop an understanding of right and wrong, trust, empathy, restraint, co-operation, conflict resolution and co-ordination, reports Brisbane Times.
Dr Hart said she was “all for” schools letting kids play with toy weapons, such as nerf guns.
“Many parents grew up playing cowboys and Indians and Star Wars … and to me it’s ironic because our children are doing the same, (we think) they’re going to grow up to be serial killers when we’re perfectly normal and contribute to society and hold normal jobs.”
Educational psychologist Jennifer StGeorge, a senior lecturer in family studies at Australia’s University of Newcastle, recently said play fighting actually helps kids develop.
StGeorge says. “Likely men’s preference to play physically in the rough-and-tumble competitive way is linked to evolution.”
“Some studies show kids are calmer and more ready for social play after a good rough-and-tumble,” she adds. Read our recent story here.
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