The Importance of Play

 Although playing is often defined as something you do just for fun,it's really much more than that. Playing helps children develop an understanding of themselves and the world around them. Play and interaction can help babies attach to their parents, and through playing children develop a range of mental, social, and physical skills. Play helps strengthen the child's ability to solve problems; Stimulates creativity and imagination; increases physical coordination, body awareness, emotional security, and self esteem.

Children Playing Stencil Art
Picture By incurable_Hippie - Flickr
Children who play well with others develop the art of working in groups. They learn to follow instructions, negotiate, share and compromise. Children who play well alone develop both confidence and independence. All these are skills that are important both in childhood and later life. If you have a playful attitude as a parent you will easily gain insight into the child's personality; what your child likes to do and what capabilities it has.

Playing can also teach you new aspects of yourself as a parent. So remember to enjoy all the great moments of loving and joyful interaction. Research suggests that playing is central to the child's mental, physical, emotional, and social development as well. Many reputable psychologists emphasize the importance of playing. In play the child will often reach for the next stage of development. Much research shows that talking a lot with your baby promotes language development. Laughter has been proven to reduce stress and strengthen the immune system - and children laugh often when they are playing. Moreover, play provides an outlet for stress.

Play is an instrument children often uses to express feelings, by playing through an event that might have been scary or they didn't understand when it happened. For example, a doctors visit. By experimenting with different identities, your child can explore a variety of opportunities and situations, turn on the roles and take control of the situation.

Early interaction and brain development - An infant is totally dependent on the caregivers interactions. It is during this time period the central nervous system develops fully. The brain structure is affected, and there is a basis for how the child is going to develop and function later in life. Playing is learning, and learning is fun. Kids can play with almost anything, and it is almost impossible for a child to play without learning . Using their creative instincts they develop curiosity for the world around them.

If a game or play time is focused on an event or a performance, the child may feel pressure to learn it, or to stay within certain guidelines. But through spontaneous play they can learn at their own pace in a free environment. The child leads the play itself, and the longer it concentrates on an activity, the more likely it is that it will find new ways to play - and learn new things along the way. Sometimes the child must strive to achieve something difficult to play. But once it masters the new skill, the desire arises to try something even more difficult.

Both in childhood, but also later in life, we learn most of our challenges. You are the child's best playmate; Children are stimulated by everything around them, and the quality of the interaction between you and your child is the most important thing you can give your child. You are the most important playmate and the most important toy, especially the first year. It is through you your child learns about the world, what things are, how to react to them, what is good and what to watch out for. And it is through you your child learn social skills - when to imitate your facial expressions and when and how to make motions to get response from you and the like.

Make time to play...and only the sky is your limit!