MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Doctors across America will soon be giving parents real prescriptions that have nothing to do with medicine and everything to do with play.
"This is important. Ask about play, encourage play, write the prescription for play, and they're encouraging us to do that at all well-child visits in the first two years of life," Le Bonheur Children's Hospital pediatric neurologist Dr. Tanjala Gipson said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling the initiative Reach Out and Play.
The study found children who played and interacted with parents and other kids had improved brain development and handled toxic stress better. Those who didn't get enough play time had severe negative effects.
"Kids can be more aggressive, less attentive, they have trouble with emotional regulation," Gipson said.
The study shows one of the most important things a parent can do with their child is simply interact and have fun.
The good news for parents is playing doesn't have to be expensive.
"You might buy some fancy $200 motorized truck, but then they want to play with a box and a spoon. Playing with a box and a spoon is more creative for them," Gipson said.
She believes it's time for children to put down the phones and iPads and go play.
"Let them be free, let them play in the mud, let them build sand castles. No electronics, no schedules, no objectives, no goals, no drills, just have a good time," Gipson said.
The study also found that some schools are cutting down on recess, which could negatively affect learning in young students.
A prescription for play is intended to have parents use their common sense and allow their child to explore the world around them.
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