Why Play is So Important for Children’s Development
Hundreds of studies show that play is critical for children’s overall development. Children-driven play allows them to explore their creativity while developing their cognitive, emotional and social strengths. It also provides children time and space to bond with their playmates, parents and family as it is through play that they engage and interact with their surroundings.
Unfortunately, time for play has been reduced dramatically over the past years. In fact, between 1981 and 1997, the amount of time spent by children playing already dropped by 25 percent! Factors such as fast and hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, access to various media as well as intense focus on academics all contribute to reduced play opportunities for children. Let’s also not forget the sad reality of children who are being robbed of this basic human right (Yes, play is a recognised basic right of every child as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children) due to economic factors leading to child labor or even worse, conflicts and war!
Reduced playtime may result to children being less active, poor social interaction, lack of confidence and even physiological effects such as poor motor skills and obesity! As parents and guardians, we have the responsibility to ensure that our little ones reap the various benefits that come with undirected play.
Here are some ways you can encourage play in your children:
- Schedule at least one to two hours of free play every day and stick to this rule religiously.
- Rotate play occasions. For example, let your kids play with neighbours and friends on some days or play on their own on others. Also make sure you allocate playtime with you as this is a great bonding activity!
- Limit access to media especially for very young children. Media includes TV, virtual reality games and internet. Ideally, allow them only an hour or less, depending on your parental discretion. Personally,
- Provide a safe playing environment. A lot of parents hesitate to let their children play due to fear of injuries and accidents, and this is understandable. We can manage by childproofing our homes (keep toxic substances/sharp and pointed items away from kids’ reach), supervising them when they play outside, and making sure that you don’t let them play in hazardous environment such as busy roads and highways!
- Choose toys wisely. A lot of times, we get our kids what they want or what is convenient like tablets and game consoles, which is alright as long as we monitor and limit their usage. More so, try exploring educational toys and introduce them early. My personal favourite as a mom? Good old puzzles and board games!
No doubt that play is an integral part of every childhood, and it is likely when our kids build their fondest memories. Of the many benefits that play offers, perhaps the most obvious and beneficial of all is simply the joy it brings. Seeing them smile and hearing them laugh are without a doubt priceless!
Learn more about Cosy Angel’s fun and educational Super Tooth Board Game HERE.