Play and Childhood

Play and Childhood

Rolling on the floor with your baby or getting down on your knees to play with a young child is vitally important—both to your child’s development and to your own mental health.

Play is essential for developing social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills in children.

In fact, far from being a waste of time or just a fun distraction, play is a time when your child is often learning the most. Whether it’s an infant playing with a toy or an older child playing a board game, play develops social skills, stimulates a child’s imagination and makes kids better adjusted, smarter, and less stressed.

With regards to parent-child connectiveness, play can also bring you closer together and strengthen the parent-child bond that will last a lifetime. While children need time to play alone and with other children, playing with their parents is also important.

Here are some helpful tips to encourage play:

  1. As a conscious parent, you must establish a regular play time. It may be for twenty minutes before dinner every night or every Saturday morning. Also, give your child your undivided attention during the activity. Turn off the TV and your cell phone and make time to play with your child without distraction. Having your undivided attention makes your child feel special.
  2. Very importantly is to match your child’s intensity during play. This implies that if your child is loud and energetic, be loud and energetic, too.
    However, don’t force play or try to prolong a game. The best way to teach a new skill is to show children how something works, then step back and give them a chance to try it. When your child grows tired of an activity, it’s time to move on to something new. Don’t forget that children learn through repetition. Let your child play the same game over and over. Your child will move on when he or she is ready.
  3. Give them that trust to take the lead and become active participants. Become part of their game rather than trying to dictate the play. Let your child call the shots, make the rules, and determine the pace of play. Ask questions and play along and discover how imaginative their world can be.
  4. Lastly, safety first. If a game is too hard or too easy, it loses its sense of pleasure and fun. Help your child find age-appropriate activities and understand any safety rules for play. Nothing ruins a fun game faster than a child getting hurt.
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