The importance of play

The American Academy of Pediatrics

Categories: Learning through Play

In the early years, your child’s main way of learning and developing is through play. Play is fun for your child and gives him an opportunity to explore, observe, experiment, solve problems and learn from his mistakes. He’ll need your support and encouragement to do this. But it’s important to try to find a balance between helping him and letting him make mistakes, because finding out for himself about how the world works is a big part of learning.

Play is essential to the development of babies and toddlers, as it contributes to their wellbeing and to a balanced childhood. It also offers parents and carers the perfect opportunity to interact with their children and to teach them essential basic life lessons.

In this article by Kenneth R. Ginsburg, the author talks about the importance of play in establishing strong bonds between parents and their children, as well as in helping children develop into great adults.

However, it has been noticed that children's play time has been considerably reduced recently, therefore this article discusses the impacts this change may have on a child's life. Some of the main factors that contribute to reduced time for play include a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centered play.

Babies don’t need non-stop interaction. There are moments when they are receptive to interactions and moments when they are not. The challenge for parents is to take advantage of those moments when your child is receptive.

There is no evidence showing that seven hours per day is better than 45 minutes per day. Quality matters more than quantity. And to make the most out of your time together, try to identify those moments your infant is the most receptive.

Under normal conditions mother-infant communication develops this conversational quality: the child puts something out there to which you need to return/react. When the baby doesn’t get anything from the parent, the child becomes distressed.

It’s very important when you’re a parent not to overestimate what you and your child can do in a short period of time. Often parents get frustrated because they are trying to do something with their child and get them somewhere, having a specific view in mind. But it’s also very important not to underestimate what your child can achieve in the long term.

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Children love playing with balls of all shapes and sizes. And with good reason: balls are great for group play, organised sports or just playing by yourself. They are also suitable for a variety of age groups (from babies to children and even adults).

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Mothercraft nurse, Chris Minogue, answers one of Kinderling Radio listener’s question on how to keep their child safe on the ground.

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