Children learn many important skills through play and it is important they have the opportunity to play every day.
Some of the important skills they learn include
• how to share, and
• how to navigate social situations.
Play increases brain connections and improves critical thinking skills needed to be successful in the world. With increased time watching television, playing video games, and internet/screen time, children are spending less time in play and this affects them on a cognitive level.
A parent can increase the time their child plays by facilitating play then allowing the child to take the lead. Parents should follow their child’s interests and allow the child to use their creativity and communication to navigate the interaction. For example, if a child is using blocks as a tea cup instead of building or stacking them, the parent should also pretend it is a tea cup.
Parents can also comment on what the child is doing by saying something like, “Wow, you are stacking the blocks really high” or “You just put the red block on the blue block.” This kind of commenting builds confidence in children when they lead the play. The only time a parent may need to change the direction of the play is if the child is not playing safely or appropriately.
Below are some resources that addresses the importance of play:
By Cindie Silmon, LCMFT-Mental Health Specialist and Leslie Stevens, LCMFT-Mental Health Specialist
Cindie Silmon, LCMFT became a Mental Health Specialist at Rainbows United in January of 2014. Leslie Stevens, LCMFT became a Mental Health Specialist at Rainbows United in July of 2008. Both therapists currently work in family homes supporting parents of infants and toddlers in our Attachment Bio-behavioral Catch-up service.