Like Panksepp and Pellegrini, Berk sees an urgency in the new evidence about the sometimes subtle effects of play. They all agree that kids need more time to play—preferably beyond the watchful eyes of parents or teachers. “It’s important to let children interact on their own terms with peers,” says Pellegrini. “Providing children with a physical education class as a substitute for recess does not serve the same purpose. They need to play.” Panksepp makes the same argument but couches it slightly differently: “Adults tend to stop [play] engagements because they get too boisterous. Kids are continually having to break off from this kind of activity before their nervous system is eager to back off.” Rough-and-tumble social play, where kids make actual physical contact, has particular value. “You must feel your partner wanting to engage,” Panksepp stresses. “That’s how play gets into the nervous system.” Contact counts.
Quote ID: 00476
Hara Estroff Marano
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