The research is clear. Kids of all ages need playtime, downtime, and family time (PDF) every day for healthy development. These are protective factors that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families.
We know from our student surveys that many kids are not getting enough sleep and rarely have unstructured time to explore new interests, read a book for pleasure, or simply enjoy their childhood. We encourage kids and parents to find creative ways to build PDF into your daily routine that will continue when normal life resumes.
Playtime means unstructured time for social interactions and playing informal sports, games, and other activities for fun. Structured extracurricular activities are great and can lead to positive development, but kids also need time for exercise and unstructured play.
Downtime is time set aside beyond structured activities or academics to relax, reflect, or just be. Research suggests that kids need downtime throughout the day — in addition to enough sleep at night — for their physical and emotional health.
Family time creates a sense of connection and belonging. Research shows that when kids are part of a family unit that spends time together, they are more likely to feel supported, safe, and loved unconditionally, as well as have increased self-esteem and better academic outcomes. Try to incorporate 20-25 minutes a day, 5 days per week.
Download and print our Playtime-Downtime-Family Time (PDF) tip sheets in English or Spanish for different age groups.