Play is often talked as if it were relief from serious learning.
But for all children, it is really the work of childhood-an essential part of their development.
Play starts in the child’s infancy and continues for a lifetime.
Through plays, children learn to socialise, to think, to solve problems, to mature and to have fun.
This connects children with their imaginations, environment, families and the world.
It is important for children’s development and bonding with their parents.
As a parent, you are your children’s first teacher and much of that teaching happens through play.
Play helps your children learn the rules and expectations of you.
As children grow, play helps them learn how to act in society.
It contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well – being of children.
Parents need to make time to play with their children starting from their infancy.
When your baby starts to smile and you smile back, you are engaging in play.
Play is directed by the child and the rewards come from within the child. It is enjoyable and spontaneous. Children learn by playing with others.
You provide the setting for your children to play with others. As they grow, you provide toys and sports equipment.
Play is needed for healthy development of your child.
Research has shown that 75 percent of brain development occurs after birth.
Play helps with that development by stimulating the brain through the formation of connections between nerve cells. This process helps with the development of fine and gross motor skills, including how to hold crayons and pencils. Gross motor skills are actions such as jumping or running.
Play also helps a child to develop language and social skills. They learn to communicate their wants, needs and emotions as well as to think, to be creative and to solve problems.
In today’s world of balancing work and home schedules, it is hard for parents to spare quality time with their children.
It is essential for parents to make the best use of time they have with their children.
Your children need time with you to relax and play.
Sadly, many working-class parents tend to leave their children with nannies forgetting that children need parental attention.
Playing with children builds lasting bonds and allows parents to appreciate the uniqueness of the child. Playing with children also reduces stress for over-worked parents. Laughing and relaxing are important for your own well-being.
Try to spend individual time with each of your children. When a parent or sibling plays music or a board game with a child, shares a bike ride, plays baseball, or reads a story, the child learns self-importance.
Today, children of all ages are exposed to technology such as computers and videos.
But let us limit our children from using these technologies.
Psychologists say children who spend most of their time using technology are rarely physically active. They do not develop socialisation skills and use of their imagination.
You can help your child by reducing screen time to no more than two hours a day and always ensure the child gets over an hour of physical exercise daily.
You have important roles in play. You can encourage play by providing interesting materials that promote exploration and learning. Parental involvement in a children world of play is not only beneficial for the child but is extremely beneficial to the parent.
Playing with children establishes and strengthens bonds that will last forever. Parent-child play opens doors for the sharing of values, increases communication, allows for teachable moments and assists in problem solving.
As they master their world, play helps children develop new competences that lead to enhanced confidence and resilience for future use.