Time to Play

  • Many of your rights under the UNCRC are there to protect you from things which could harm you – you also have a right to play and relax
  • Having a right to play, rest and relax means you need to have time to do this
  • If someone is stopping you from having time to rest and play, they could be breaking the law

Being able to relax and enjoy free time means you have to have time for this – so your time shouldn’t be taken up too much with school and homework, with some other kind of work, or with lots of organised activities. These may be fun things to do outside of school but you should also have time to do things you want to do in your own way and on your own terms.

You have a right to education which has to be balanced against your right to play and to rest and relaxation. If you get your education in a state school, the amount of time school has to be open is fixed by law. If you are educated at home, it’s up to your parents to organise your education for you in the way they think best. Whether you’re educated at school or at home, you should always have your own time to play and relax.

If you go to school, it’s important that you have time for a break during the school day. Break times and lunchtimes should be built in to the time you spend in school. If you’re worried that you’re having less time to play – perhaps your lunchtime has been made shorter, or play time is stopped or made shorter because of something you or other children have done during a lesson, you could raise this with the school council or talk to your teachers about it. Your parents can help you do this. If you think that your worries aren’t being taken seriously, you can use the school complaints procedure to ask why your break times are being reduced or taken away.

Your school will probably expect you to do homework, especially if you are at secondary school – and may have rules in place about what will happen if you don’t do your homework. If you think you are getting too much homework, check what your school’s homework policy says. If teachers are setting more homework than the policy suggests, you could ask what the reason for this is. It’s something you could ask the School Council to look into.

Your parents – or the people with parental responsibility for you – have to take care of you and bring you up how they think they should. As long as your parents aren’t neglecting you or hurting you, it’s up to them. Your parents may organise lots of things for you to do at the weekend and in the evening to try and give you lots of opportunities to try different activities and have lots of good experiences.

If you don’t agree with how your parents are expecting you to spend your time, you could try and discuss it with them and explain what you would like to do differently. If you think this will be difficult, you could see if there’s someone else who can help you have the conversation.

If your parents, or someone else that you live with, are making you work and do lots of chores without any time to yourself, this could be abuse.  If you have no time to yourself and you are being made to work when you aren’t at school (or if you are being made to work instead of going to school) this is wrong and you should try and talk to someone you trust about what is happening to you. This may be difficult if you don’t get an opportunity to speak to anyone. If you see a doctor or dentist, a social worker, a teacher or a policeman or woman, or someone like that and you feel comfortable talking to them about what is happening, they should be able to help you.

There are also organisations you can telephone or contact online including

Childline https://www.childline.org.uk/ 0800 1111

Meic https://www.meiccymru.org/ 080880 23456

Your main rights when you’re under 18 are about being protected and having opportunities to grow and develop healthily before becoming an adult. The UNCRC gives children and young people the right to be protected from work that might be dangerous or make it difficult for you to get an education, or exploits you. In Wales, there are laws which mean you can only work a limited number of hours and you can only work at certain times. In most cases, you can’t work until you are 13. You can find out more about how long you can work if you’re under 18 in our section about Work.