Giving your child plenty of opportunities to play is one of the best ways to help them grow into curious, creative, healthy, and happy adults equipped with the skills they need today. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical report, The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children, explains how and why playing with both parents and peers is vital to building thriving brains, bodies, and social bonds, which are all important in today’s world. Research shows play can improve children’s abilities to plan, organize, get along with others, and regulate emotions. In addition, play helps with language, math, and social skills and helps children cope with stress.
Even though all children benefit from unstructured playtime with other children, including their siblings, and even playing alone, there are unique benefits from playing with a parent/parents or other loving adults.
Benefits of Parent-Child Play
- Play helps children develop social skills and self-control.
- Research suggests that parent-child pretend and physical play can help your child develop special skills such as creativity, working memory, gross motor skills, cognitive flexibility, regulation of emotions, and peer group leadership skills.
- Play helps build stronger relationships with parents.
Parents can also use play activities to teach fundamental life skills such as:
- Good Communication
- Conflict Resolution
- Building Trust
- Understanding Social Norms
Ensuring regular family time can be challenging whether a parent works outside the home or not. However, playing with your children brings joy and reminds us of the simple pleasures in life. Remember, the dishes can wait, and the emails can be answered later, but the moments we spend playing with our children are fleeting.
Submitted by Munazza Syed, M.A.
Munazza Syed, M.A.
Munnaza Syed has her Master’s degree and is currently at Adler University’s Clinical Psychology Doctorate program with a concentration in Child and Adolescent emphasis. She did her undergraduate from the University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut with a major in Biology and a minor in Spanish and Chemistry. Before graduate school, she worked as a teacher support specialist in a therapeutic day school with children with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and emotional and behavioral dysregulation. She is passionate about neurodevelopmental disorders and enjoys working with the youngest population.
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