While it is well-documented that homelessness causes physical, emotional, and developmental harm to children, the resources that serve them are shrinking and largely inaccessible. Children are often left to manage the trauma of homelessness on their own, and consequently, a disproportionate number of children in shelters suffer from emotional, behavioral, and learning problems.
These children generally enter school without the basic skills they need to succeed and are often lagging years behind. A Harvard Medical School study found that:
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PLAY
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is essential for children’s cognitive, physical, and emotional well-being both at home and at school.
Children are routinely denied the developmental opportunities and psychological support necessary for healthy child development as recreation is severely restricted in most shelters. Play becomes even more critical for children living in transition as a healing force to cope and restore normalcy to their lives. Playtime staff and volunteers protect children’s right to learn and heal through play by creating trauma-informed playrooms and providing opportunities to enjoy play spaces and equipment. Playtime reduces potential trauma by engaging youth cognitively, physically, and emotionally, allowing children to build healthy relationships with caring adults and other children.
For more information on the benefits of Playtime, check out our updates or the following resources:
- Horizons for Homeless Children
- The National Center on Family Homelessness
- Strong National Museum of Play
- International Play Association
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- National Campaign to End Child Homelessness
- Child Trends
Learn More about Family Homelessness
Our advocacy page is full of resources to help you to understand more about family homelessness both nationally and in Washington, DC.
54 percent of preschoolers experiencing homelessness have major developmental delays (e.g. language, gross motor, fine motor, social). Homeless children also have three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems and are twice as likely to have learning disabilities.