The importance of play as a key component in the development of any child cannot be overstated. In fact, research shows that play is a factor of great consequence for most species, and humans are no exception.
Below you will find some of the reasons why play is essential for your children, and why you should play with them and encourage them to engage in activities in a fun, but safe and nurturing setting.
A Fundamental Element of Development
Play is a fundamental part of development. Research shows that the need to play is rooted in the very way we grow and evolve neurologically. In other words, play is a developmental need. It makes sense: play allows children to explore the world under some degree of supervision, and puts them in situations where they can experiment with objects, people and interactions.
Play teaches children skills they will need to handle social situations effectively in the future. While they play, your children put to use a wide array of social strategies that include managing conflict, stating their needs and problem solving. By using these skills in a controlled setting, they can practice safely and be prepared when they need to apply them in a real situation.
More importantly, play allows children to learn to face challenges. These challenges may come from external circumstances, from playmates, or from the rules of the game itself. However, by dealing with those mostly harmless challenges children develop abilities that will serve them throughout all their lives.
Crucial to the Parent-Child Relationship
Playing with their parents is extremely important for all children. Your child naturally wants to interact with you, and play offers the perfect setting for this exchange to take place. Parents can provide more varied and realistic and play, two attributes children like. Furthermore, while playing with their parents, Infants and preschoolers favor activities that require a partner, proving that, for them, the point in that situation is interacting with the older person.
Teaches Them That It’s OK to Have Fun
Play is an excellent way to teach your children how to manage expectations and how to behave according to each situation. Play also lets your children know that they’re allowed to have fun, and that having fun is appropriate and necessary under the right conditions. This will contribute to set the stage for them to learn how to strike a balance between personal and professional life, a skill that will prove essential as they reach adulthood.