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Power of child play discussion in Lexington

Posted by Katrina Ballard  September 27, 2010 09:00 AM

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A nationally renowned authority and author on child development issues, David Elkind has offered his case for the importance of unstructured play in forums across the country and abroad, as well as on television programs including ‘‘The Today Show,’’ ‘‘20/20,’’ and the ‘‘Oprah Winfrey Show.’’

At 7 p.m. Thursday, he will present his research findings on children’s emotional and academic development at Lexington High School, 251 Waltham St.

Elkind, professor emeritus of child development at Tufts University, says it’s easy for parents and children alike to feel overwhelmed by the varied demands of modern life. When time is not allowed for spontaneous play, however, then curiosity, creativity, and imagination suffer, he says, and children grow up uncertain of who they are and what they want to do.

Parents also must set an example, he notes. If children are not allowed to spend endless hours on the computer or watching television, then parents shouldn’t either. Instead, he encourages participation in meaningful activities as a family.

‘‘It’s important to have a healthy balance between work, school, outside play, and activities with friends,’’ says Elkind, a former Lexington resident now living on Cape Cod. ‘‘Parents have to come back to common sense. Instead of listening to everyone else, listen to your own child.’’

Elkind’s lecture, ‘‘The Power of Play and the Hurried Child,’’ is presented by Lexington Community Education. To reserve a space for $10, call 781-862-8043.

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